How to work as a team off one, stand-alone NVivo 9 project file

Although it is possible to collaborate in a NVivo 9 standalone project, this is not optimally supported by the software. Since the cost of purchasing NVivo 9 Server software to best support teamwork is prohibitive, we will follow alternate processes described under NVivo’s Offline Help’s “About teamwork in a standalone project” and suggested by its software support team:

Preparation: We must all use NVivo 9.2, then upgrade as a team.

All of us must use the same version of NVivo software; projects in NVivo 9.2 format cannot be opened with the 9.1 version of NVivo. To prevent any work being unimportable as a result of NVivo version conflict, we must all begin working off the latest version. If there is a subsequent update, the first team member to view this message must notify members BEFORE installing the update (NVivo 9 should automatically notify you of any new updates on opening; refer to NVivo’s Offline Help “Software updates” for more information). Work should only proceed on the file, once all team members have confirmed that they have updated their software!

Process 1: Work on one file at different times

The simplest way for us to collaborate on a standalone project, is to work with a single project file—however only one person can open and work with the project at any point in time. This option would require the team to setup a Google Calendar in which researchers could book off slots to work on the file. Ideally, this file would be on a dedicated computer that’s automatically backed-up.

Process 2: Work on copies of the master file

If more than one user wants to work on a project at the same time, a project leader must be in charge of establishing a 'master' project. This person can then give a copy of the master project to each team member. The team members will work on the copied projects, while the project master works in the master project.

At regular intervals, the project leader should import team members' work into the master project— as defined under NVivo’s Offline Help’s”Import selected content into an open project”.

The team leader must check with team members that a separate user profile is setup for each member. Since users are not 'authenticated', each team member must take care to use the correct user profile when working in a standalone project.

Process 3: Work locally, not off the intranet

When opening a project from the network drive, a temporary copy of the project is created on one’s local drive. This can cause a project to take some time to open. QSR International  recommends copying and opening the project from one’s local drive; this is likely to improve the speed of opening projects. One must then copy the file to its original network location to ensure it is backed up.

Attribution and acknowledgements:

Travis Noakes wrote this document using content sourced and rewritten from NVivo 9’s Offline Help files. He has also included feedback from correspondence with QSR International’s staff.