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NVivo for Literature Reviews

Using NVivo 12 Qualitative Research Software for Literature Reviews and Analytical Writing


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About NVivo

NVivo 12 is software designed to enable qualitative and mixed-methods research. The developer is QSR International.

Although some of NVivo's advanced features are for dedicated qualitative researchers, NVivo can also provide significant help with any kind of analytical writing.

In this guide we focus on literature reviews. The same techniques are potentially applicable to:

  • conference papers,
  • articles,
  • commentaries,
  • book reviews,
  • legal memoranda or submissions,
  • student essays.

Install or Upgrade NVivo

You can download QSR NVivo 12 for free from the Deakin Software Library. Both Mac and Windows versions are available.

There are important compatibility limitations when working across both Mac and Windows platforms. We discuss these in further detail on the next page of this guide.

If you have installed an earlier version of NVivo, we strongly recommend upgrading to version 12. Deakin's NVivo 11 license expired in October 2018.

Introductory Video Tutorials from QSR

QSR publishes introductory NVivo video tutorials for both Windows and Mac.

The first video in each QSR series is embedded below.

Video: NVivo for Literature Reviews

Watch a recording of Deakin Library training (1 hour 18 mins)


Video: Analysis in NVivo (Windows)

Click the play button below to watch the video Analysis in NVivo (Windows) (01:00).

Video: Analysis in NVivo 12 Mac

Click the play button below to watch the video on Analysis in NVivo 12 Mac (00:57).

Additional NVivo Resources

Additional resources are available from NVivo's developer QSR and third parties.

QSR YouTube channel

QSR Publications and Webinars

QSR's recent publications introduce important aspects of NVivo for literature reviews/analytical writing:

For users interested in NVivo's more advanced features, QSR also offers:

Third Party Video Tutorials

As NVivo 12 was released only recently, at this stage available third party resources relate to either NVivo 10 or 11.

More recently, Dr Alan Shaw (Strategic Planet, 2017) made twin video guides directed at literature reviews:

Third Party Publications and Resource Guides

Flinders University has published a detailed guide focused on using NVivo and EndNote For Literature Reviews. Also available from Flinders is an NVivo Advanced Workbook relating to in-depth qualitative research.

La Trobe University publishes an NVivo Library Resource Guide.

ANU provides an NVivo Library Resource Guide.

Further Help

For software download issues, contact the Deakin IT service desk.

At this stage the Library is unable to provide comprehensive support for NVivo, but if you are interested in further information or assistance, please contact the Library Research Team. We will do our best to help!