New Codes in Team Projects

It doesn’t take long to discover that what worked well when you worked alone on your own individual NVivo project may need to change when you work with others on a team NVivo project. Suddenly there are things in the project that you didn’t put there – like Memos, Files or new Codes. It can quickly get confusing and messy.

Whether starting with an established coding structure or creating Codes “on the go”, it helps to set up coding process guidelines for the team. For instance, to efficiently track and distinguish new Codes establish the convention of having a “new codes” Code for each NVivo user to serve as temporary locations for any new Codes they create. In practice this means when a user creates a new Code, they initially do so under their “own name” Code. They repeat the process for each new Code they create, always including a Code Description.

Step 1. Create a top-level Code called “New Codes”.

Step 2. Create child Codes for each user by name.

Step 3. Users create temporary new Codes under their own Code, resulting in Code sets identifiable by individual users.

When the individual users’ projects are merged into the combined team NVivo project, the team can systematically compare the new Codes created by the different users. Some Codes will be unique, and some may be similar. The team discusses and agrees on necessity, names, descriptions, and placement of the new Codes within the shared coding structure. Where similar Codes have been created by different users, they are merged into one Code. All of the “new” Codes are then moved into their assigned location in the coding structure and deleted from the users’ individual Code sets. This gives each user a clean slate as they resume coding.

Similar Codes
Similar Codes (1) can be merged into one selected code. The Code is placed within the shared coding structure (2) as decided by the team. The corresponding Codes are then deleted from users’ individual Code sets (3).

Unique Codes
Any “new” Codes that are unique to an individual user’s Code set are moved into the shared coding structure as decided by the team, and deleted from the user’s individual Code set.

Clean slate. Following the process outlined in the steps above, the individual users’ Code sets are now cleared and ready for them to resume coding.

Teams tell me this practice keeps their Codes well-organized, improves their ability to track coding, and encourages coding consistency. Do you have other tips around Code organization? Try this QWickTip and share how it works for your team.

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