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BarraQDA’s NVivotools provides a way for NVivo users to access and build research data as they like while still using NVivo when they choose. Its uses include archiving data, time-saving data modification procedures, interfacing with other IT systems and producing novel reports from the data.


One of the most widely used applications for Qualitative Data Analysis is NVivo, produced by QSR International. Originating in research at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, NVivo has long set the standard in CASQDA. Nonetheless, its transformation from an academic research project to a commercially driven project has resulted in some significant shortcomings. Most fundamentally, in aligning their software design with Microsoft’s products, QSR cut itself adrift from evolution within the software industry. The most obvious evidence of this can be seen in the Mac version’s not being released until 2014, and even then being only partially compatible with the Windows version. As for Android, Linux or portable devices, QSR has no plans in place.

A second shortcoming of NVivo, also related to QSR’s adoption of Microsoft’s design principles, is its design as a single GUI-based application. As anyone who has used it can testify, NVivo is very greedy for memory and CPU power (one friend of mine recently upgraded his laptop just to handle his PhD research project). More seriously, GUI applications do not lend themselves to automation or cooperation with the thousands of computer tools that exist for manipulating data. Anyone who has modified by hand 1000 coded interviews to reflect a change in attribute classifications knows what we mean here…

Introducing NVivotools

NVivotools allows you to move your data freely to and from NVivo. It lets you continue to use NVivo for what it does well without being stuck permanently with the NVivo way of doing things. Some examples of what you might use NVivotools for include:

  • Archiving your data so that it can be read without an NVivo licence.
  • Mass manipulation of data using scripting tools. Instead of spending hours or days making repetitive edits (and probably some mistakes) using NVivo’s GUI interface, write a script that will do the same work (without any mistakes) in just a few minutes.
  • Interface with the rest of your IT world as you choose. Whether mining data from social media, loading your interview transcripts or incorporating data from another database into your research project, don’t be limited by the mechanisms that NVivo offers.

Try it out now

Two tools from the NVivotools library can now be freely used online. NormaliseNVPX allows you to transform an NVivo for Mac file into a normalised SQLite file, where it can be read, analysed and transformed using common tools such as Python. DenormaliseNVPX does the reverse, loading data from a normalised SQLite file into an NVivo for Mac file.

More information

Contact us at info@barraqda.org.