Monday, May 17, 2010

Comparing nVivo and alasti for video analysis

At present, the qualitative software analysis platform we use at CPIT is nVivo. I am now using nVivo with the ‘perspectives of first year apprentices’ project and the thematic analysis of interview data for the ‘perspectives of new trades tutors’ was completed using nVivo. I have discussed pros and cons of using Vivo before, Presently, I find it is easy to use and generally intuitive with regards to dealing with text analysis although I also take into account that nVivo does impose a certain way of thinking about qualitative analysis.

Discussions with a few other researchers who work with video data reveal several use atlasti. So I downloaded a free trial version of atlasti and have completed transcription of a short video clip with both sets of software. The free version of atlasti allows users to upload 10 primary documents, work with 50 codes, 100 quotations and 30 memos.

Here is a comparison of older versions of nVivo and Atlasti, As a comparison, of my own evaluation of the two, I have jotted down some notes.

The first task is to learn a whole set of new terms!! Atlasti – hermeneutic unit vs project on nvivo. Alasti quotes or quotations vs nodes in nVivo for themes. Networks in alasti vs models in nvivo etc etc.

Atlasti is more ‘windows like’ in layout but nVivo uses the concept of folders to store and navigate through the various layers of data. Atlasti is more intuitive to use for uploading ‘primary documents’ which are referred to as ‘sources’ in nVivo.

Importing videos into each programme meant we had to convert videos to the correct file format which could be read by each data analysis software package. We used any video converter which is a free download and easy to use. Converting between video formats using this tool is straightforward.

Time stamp on nVivo only allows for a minute intervals which are, at the moment, not fine enough with the transcripts we have been producing. Also only one column for timespan and another for comments. However, custom columns can be added.

Had to convert word table of transcripts into a rtf or txt file to upload as a ‘primary document’ in atlasti which mucked up the organisation of the word table. Assigning quotations (nodes in nVivo) was simple, similar to adding comments to a word document. Coding also straight forward using a drag and drop technique. Video coding using an editing technique to snip segments out of the video to code.

Coding video using nVivo also involves a snipping / selection process and then a drag and drop of the selected segment to the code required. The coding summary records the timespan or the transcript fragment.

On alasti, the coding is marked on the transcript on a side screen and the actual video clip comes up.

Will need to work with both nVivo and Atlasti for another couple of clips to become proficient at the technicalities of working with each tool. At the moment, they both complete similar tasks although for the moment, Atlasti provides a better method to access video segments which have been coded.


Adam said...

The statement "Time stamp on nVivo only allows for a minute intervals.." is incorrect. NVivo allows a minimum time stamp interval of 1/10 of a second. More details can be found at

Anonymous said...


Sarin Samuel said...

Digital Media Converter is a free video converter software that converts every type of media file. No adware, and completely virus free. Supports almost any file format and it is a fast converter. It also does batch conversion and perfectly keeps your audio and video in sync.