Tag Archives: qualitative research

Penn and the Surrounding Community

On the edges of the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom, located just down the hall from the Weigle Information Commons,  an exhibit about the edges of Penn’s presence in West Philadelphia runs until Friday, February 24, 2017. Penn and the Surrounding Community is a collection of work by Dr. Rosemary Frasso‘s students from the SW781/PUBH604 class entitled Qualitative Research in Social Work and Public Health. This semester’s exhibit focuses on how undergraduate and graduate students here at Penn conceptualize the University’s impact on its urban setting.

Nominal Group Technique (NGT) (in which members of a group name, then rank items) was used to determine the topic of exploration for the class research study. Briefly, Dr. Frasso moderated a session where in the students suggested potential topic ideas, then ranked those ideas. The topic of Penn and the Surrounding Community was collectively chosen as the central theme for investigation.

First, the students collected free-listing data. Each of the 25 students in the class recruited 5 participants (total of 125 people) from the Penn community and asked them to share the words that come to mind when they think about Penn’s relationship with the surrounding community. These data (words generated) were then analyzed to determine the salient domains.

Then each student recruited one additional participant to take part in the Photo-elicitation arm of the study. Briefly, each participant was asked to think about Penn’s relationship with the surrounding community and using their camera or smartphone to take photos that would help them explain their impression of this relationship. The photos were then used to guide a qualitative interview. All interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim and analyzed in the Collaborative Classroom.

The preliminary analysis yielded 10 thematic categories: Benefits, Safety, Permeability, Double-Edged Sword, Accessibility, Responsibility, Exclusivity, Bubble, Boundary, and Penntrification. Within these broad categorizations, representative photos and their accompanying captions were chosen for exhibition. The finished product will ultimately include an abstract for presentation as well as a manuscript for publication in addition to these preliminary findings currently on exhibit. The project can be viewed on the Scholarly Commons’ New Media Showcase.

The photos and quotes paint a complicated picture of how students perceive Penn’s relationship with the West Philadelphia community. The work highlights both the beneficial nature and drawbacks that are byproducts of Penn’s presence in West Philly, best described as a “double-edged sword.” For thought provoking insights like these, the exhibit is an enlightening and self-reflective project that is well worth the visit. Research rigor and critical social immersion blend to demonstrate the strengths of research in Public Health and Social Work.


Happy NVivo Year!

nvivogroupLots of NVivo news to celebrate as we enter 2016!

Thanks to our awesome public computing support department, all the computers in Weigle and the Goldstein Electronic Classroom can once again run NVivo beautifully! Software glitches are fixed, our machines have solid-state drives that boot up faster and our network is now at 1Gig Ethernet. So come on back, and bring your friends with you!

Our NVivo User Group is off to a great start with more than 60 people on our listserv and a Canvas course for sharing databases and questions. All four sessions to date had strong attendance and handouts are posted online.

Our next NVivo Basics class will be on January 27, and our next NVivo User Group meeting on February 1 will focus on query design facilitated by Ebony Easley. We plan time for “ask an expert” consultations, so bring your team and your NVivo files along with you. On your way in, you can admire the latest student work exhibit by Rosie Frasso‘s class on how technology is changing our lives; the students used NVivo to analyze their interviews.

New NVivo Resources

NVivo logoDemand for NVivo has grown quite a bit in recent years. We find it is a great tool for analyzing video and audio interviews, surveys, journal articles and even tweets. We first wrote about NVivo in 2012, and our lit review post from 2013 is in the top-five list with over 2,000 views. In 2014, we wrote about Charlene Wong’s research and Rosie Frasso’s teaching with NVivo. Lately, we receive requests each week for NVivo training, and then we really miss Shimrit Keddem, our former presenter who created our wonderful NVivo guide.

We’re glad to announce that staff from QSR International, the makers of NVivo, will present a NVivo for Literature Reviews webinar just for Penn on February 19 – register now!

QSR will also hold a two-day fee-based hands-on workshop here at Penn on March 9 and 10. Since Penn Libraries is hosting the workshop, QSR has provided a few complimentary seats. (To be considered for one of them, please complete our online form.)

NVivo for Literature Reviews

If you are a seasoned researcher, or even if you have just started embarking upon a research project, you are probably familiar with common literature citation/organization tools, such as RefWorks, Zotero, and EndNote (see our LibGuide on these citation management tools).  However, not many people realize that NVivo, a qualitative research software, can also be used quite effectively as a research and citation organizer for literature reviews. Shimrit Keddem, our NVivo Basics workshop presenter and creator of our  NVivo Guide, recently introduced us to this aspect of NVivo.

Image courtesy of Anuja Cabraal (http://anujacabraal.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/why-use-nvivo-for-your-literature-review/)

Researcher Anuja Cabraal, an NVivo consultant, writes extensively about NVivo’s organizational capabilities on her blog.  Cabraal highlights NVivo’s ability to categorize elements of your research into what NVivo calls “Nodes” (please see the workshop handout on our NVivo LibGuide on terminology). For example, you can have a Node for definitions of complex terms you are working with, a Node for PDFs or external documents you are using in your research, and a Node for different critical perspectives from which you may be working.  NVivo allows you to easily change categories as your research develops; Cabraal notes that these categories often help her to see patterns emerge in her work, which she may not have noticed otherwise.

Image courtesy of NVivo site (http://www.qsrinternational.com/what-is-qualitative-research.aspx)

In addition to her initial post on NVivo’s capabilities for creating a literature review, Cabraal has started a series of blog posts about subtopics regarding using NVivo for a literature review, such as managing reading lists and coding and editing your reading list/library in NVivo.  NVivo’s own page on qualitative research also provides ideas for creating literature reviews, working with social media and interviews in evaluative studies.

The NVivo software should be accessible on the PCs in all library buildings.

NVivo for qualitative research

We first learned about NVivo software from Rosie Frasso who teaches in the Masters in Public Health program, and after that, we suddenly started receiving many questions and requests about it from around campus. As the vendor describes, “NVivo 10 helps you to easily organize and analyze data in documents, audio, video, spreadsheets, social media and web pages.” In April, we set aside two workstations in WIC for a 30-day trial for the software. Over the summer, we collaborated with our technology support folks, and thanks to their help, NVivo should soon be available on all the PCs throughout Penn Libraries. On October 11, we are glad to present our first workshop on NVivo with our guest presenter Shimrit Keddem. Do you use NVivo? Please do share your experiences and ideas as we get started exploring this new software tool.