Add lightweight Qualitative Data Analysis functions (like NVivo)

It would be fantastic to have a lightweight qualitative data analysis-style coding capability using something like the codes in Evernote or other popular apps. Now that NVivo can open and work with EndNote libraries, I hope Thomson-Reuters will rise to the competitive challenge and incorporate some of this functionality into EndNote.  I had been thinking of using NVivo to code literature for the lit review of my dissertation, and I would much rather keep everything in one place rather than splitting across different applications.

I suppose that it is possible to do this as a workaround by making notes on the PDF files with specific codes that you could then query. But those notes are hard to access and you would have to choose codes carefully so that a search of “PDF notes” wouldn’t turn up words that contain the letters you use for your code.  (For example, if I used NDN as my code, a PDF highlight with “EndNote” would also come up in the search of PDF notes.)

But it would be even better if you could:

  • Define codes (in nested hierarchies)
  • View code/tag lists
  • Apply codes to whole records and to specific text segments or locations within PDFs
  • Edit codes from within the list (e.g. if I change the code in my list, it will also update uses of that code in library records) or do universal find-replaces
  • Search and query codes, including co-occurrence (code X applied to the same doc as code Y) and proximity queries (code X in the PDF near code Y).
  • Define smart groups using code queries
  • Report on codes (e.g. # of occurrences of each code)
  • Create concept maps of codes (to think through relationships among them)

That’s just a quick brainstorm, but I’m sure with a little planning and consultation with QDA experts you could find some other not-too-complicated uses for codes and tags.