Researcher of the Month - Sarah-Jane Gregory

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Our Researcher of the Month, Sarah-Jane Gregory from Griffith University shares her research story. It is so rewarding to know we were able to help her in her research journey.

“I have undertaken NVivo software training with Jenine a few times over the past four years having completed introductory training (2014) in NVivo10, advanced in NVivo11 and a refresher with the new NVivo12 (2019).

Every time Jenine has been extremely professional, encouraging and supportive of my use of the program. She was very inclusive of everyone on the courses and able to adapt to their needs no matter their level of experience, background or type of projects they were working on. She extends herself to offer support outside of the training room too; that has been very helpful.

In 2014, Jenine seeded an idea with me to utilise NVivo for coding my thesis introduction, though at the time I could see the potential, I wasn't confident enough with the software to take this on and felt I had insufficient time to master both the software and literature review writing concurrently. However, last year I hit a huge writing block and couldn't get my introduction to flow or consolidate the key themes. I lost confidence in my capacity to undertake this crucial component of my thesis.

I went back to first principles and decided that perhaps I would try Jenine's suggestion and code my literature to see if that helped with writing. Whilst there was many weeks of data entry, in the end I ended up with an amazing repository that has been instrumental to my moving forward. I was able to quickly see where the key themes were and where the gaps lay (thus the crux of a literature review). For me also it reinforced that I was actually on the right track and helped to dampen the impostor-syndrome feelings.

My supervisors both commented that they were so impressed with how my writing structure, referencing, cohesion and flow had improved dramatically overnight! In addition, now that the core of my literature is coded it is very easy to add extra papers to the file as they are published.

The benefits don't just lie in writing reviews though. I have recently been writing discussion for results chapters of my thesis. What I have found is that the code book I develop can now easily be used as a set of a priori codes for my data and in addition helps to quickly pull references to particular aspects of discussion which has sped up the writing of these sections.

Even with the software update to NVivo12 I was quite hesitant to change in the middle of data analysis. However, Jenine really encouraged me to overcome this fear. The shift has been painless and very beneficial as it is even more intuitive than previous versions, the auto-coding has vastly improved. You can now easily cross-match both quantitative and qualitative data in the one program too. You need to be a little bit mindful of how you arrange some of your data files before importing that may need a little tweaking to optimise the auto-coding but is well work the effort. What took me hours in NVivo11 took seconds in NVivo12 import.

Based on my experiences I believe that all HDR candidates should be encourage to use NVivo for the literature review process and I would highly recommend Jenine to assist.”