Wednesday, October 19, 2011

UMass Lowell Emerging Scholars and Qualitative Data Analysis Software NVivo

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to be present at an NVIVO training workshop for the Center for Women and Work's (CWW) Emerging Scholars Program (undergraduates working with faculty mentors).

My former doctoral student, Stuart Robertson, NVivo trainer par excellence, led the three hour event. It is so exciting to see our UMass-Lowell graduates taking on the qualitative research world as consultants, trainers, and leaders in the NVivo world (In addition to Stuart, Stacy Penna, and Cindi Jacobs are also NVivo experts working for QSR).

The software continues to grow and complexity but Stuart makes it seem so easy and natural. He calms all fears and answers all questions--but he was doing this even as a graduate student. What a gift.

I am excited to see undergraduates thrown into the NVivo soup pot and seeing what happens. It doesn't seem to hurt them to start their learning about qualitative research from this place--a software. One told me that he hadn't been formally been introduced to qualitative research before, but from figuring out the software he could extract the ideas about qualitative research. [This would be anathema to some researchers...but really do we need to have all that theory and philosophy before we start doing it?]

My two emerging scholars have been working for the last few weeks in the software...same's what you need to do, here is how the tool works...and I wrap in comments about qualitative research as we go along. They don't seem to be the worse for it, and I feel like I am teaching in a very fluid and natural way. Focusing on the project (sexting) keeps us organized. It makes me wonder how could I move classes that are formally named "Qualitative Research" more toward this model of "do".

An exciting evening. But then any time spent with our Emerging Scholars is time well spent.

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