NVIVO as reference library

Gathering literature and ways to store them are very personal. Some people prefer to do it manually, over paper and pen; with marks, scribbles, highlights or even coffee spill from the favourite cafe. Some other use software, either EndNote or other words processing software.

I place myself somewhere in between. I usually prefer to look at hardcopies when I encountered a new topic, or wanting to sit on a fancy café. Also the other reason is that I like to have a printed bibliography of the new ideas.

When I did my master degree’s dissertation, I used MS Word. I created files based on a theme or identified topic. Before I started my PhD, I was sure that a better storing system is in order. Asked around, did not get satisfactory answers. My gut feeling told me that once I hit 100 references, it will be quite a stretch to manage them. Never mind for the whole PhD duration. I thought “It is a simple concept, like hashtag system. Categorising based on a hashtag, and at the same time we can view information filed under a certain tag. There should be something out there”. In my fourth month, I found Nvivo which is a CAQDAS (Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software) and used it ever since to manage my library.

Although it took me a while to figure out, using Nvivo as means to storage literature is not new. QSR International provides webinars, e-demos and tutorials which guide us from the scratch, I suggest to check their resources.

Here are my usual steps:

  1. Find the intended reference, download the reference management format
  2. Open EndNote and import downloaded file in EndNote
  3. If the reference is in form of softcopy, attached pdf in EndNote data
  4. If is in form of hardcopy, I usually use my OCR pen to transfer data to editable text. Or simply re-type the text
  5. In EndNote, export file(s) to .xml format
  6. Open Nvivo, import it
  7. Categorise them accordingly in Nodes


In Window 1, there is a long list of nodes I took from my own Nvivo file. The orange colour highlight shows a node I choose to illustrate, “AOS_sketching profile” node. At the bottom bit is what we see when we click the node. Identical idea with hashtags, everything I labelled previously can be found in the node. If we want to see more of a context of the text, click on the underlined words (title of the article)- refer to P1.

It shows Window 2, where exactly the passages are in relation with the whole article- refer to P2. Similarly if we have coded an image, it will direct us to the image- Window 3 . Right click on the location of the image (in my illustration, refer to P3 8 : 51,48 – 491,378 )>Links>Open references source; and it will take us to the image.

Nvivo is quite handy and aids me to focus more on a topic. Words can be coded, un-coded or changed to other codes easily. What needs an improvement (or perhaps what I need to find out) from this system is references in a Node are arranged alphabetically. It would be great that they can be arranged based on the year of publication, so that it’s easier to identify the flow of debates. Also one thing is very crucial, based on my experience, the software has been a great help to arrange my references; BUT doing analysis is our job and not the software.

This is just a brief explanation about using Nvivo to store and manage reference. I am no where near an expert, you are more than welcome to drop me a message to say Hi and possibly bounce some ideas back. Bye for now.

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Notes: panel discussion on publishing, ICoRD2015.

I had a chance to be in Bangalore, India during ICoRD (International Conference in Research into Design) on 7-9 January 2015. There was an amazing workshop about publishing delivered by five panellists who have tremendous experience as editors in international peer reviewed journals in design. The workshop focused on pertinent issues around writing and publishing papers in peer-reviewed journals. Some hands-on tips too from the experts, in form of brief presentations. I made some scribbles as a self reminder too.

Panelists were (in order of appearance): Prof. John S. Gero, Prof. Bernard Yannou, Prof. Dr. Lucienne Blessing, Prof. G.K. Ananthasuresh and Dr. Gavin Melles

Panel 1: Prof. John S. Gero

What should be in journal paper:
– title (informative, specific and attractive)
– abstract
– motivation
– background
– aims
– significance (if it is successful, what will you do?)
– experiment design
– results
– discussion
– conclusions
– acknowledgements
– references
– figures (includes purpose, content, representation, scale, readability, references and location and caption of the figures)

Panel 2: Prof. Bernard Yannou

What should be in journal paper (building up from previous panel):

– bibliographical analysis
– your issues
– your models
– scientific enough? prove it:
originality: multi domain? novel/not? efficient?
repeatability: provides enough data
criticability: provides criteria for relevance, efficiency, applicability
applicability: issue, scalability, outperformance in certain contexts, consequences in
companies. Give examples.
– take time to save time. polish it. reviewer’s time is precious
– check: writing style, journal spirit and requirement
– for PhD student: how to divine successive and linked issues, bibliography, models, proposed design experiment, proposed chosen archival journals.

Panel 3: Prof. Dr. Lucienne Blessing

– prerequisite: the message of study
– style issues
– do not submit the first draft- reviewer’s time is previous
– look at journal guidelines
– read literature in English
– start with structure
– use consistent terminology
– show you took a great care
– read aloud your manuscript
– content issues
– set the scene (aim of paper is not the same with aim of study!)
– what you have done and.. why
– what is the PhD study about, write for the reader
– look back at the aim, at the end.

Messages from “kind reviewers”:
+ what insights/suggestions you bring to the community?
+ how do you tell the story?
+ is it worth our effort?

Panel 4: Prof. G.K. Ananthasuresh

Link to his site about technical writing: http://www.be.iisc.ernet.in/techwriting.html
– on selecting journals, publish at where we learn from
– do not fit? Make a case/ send a letter

Panel 5: Dr. Gavin Melles

What should we, the writers, aim for:
– appealing argument (reaching out, like joining a dinner party)
– writing is a forethought not an afterthought
– reviewing the field you are in
– clear ‘hook’, provocative abstract
– moderate claims (contribution on an ongoing conversation)
– do not submit first draft
– recognisable abstract
– max impact, less words
– narrative

 Note: please be considerate if you re-post or re-use the materials.

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Pilot study: still recruiting!

Hiya all, I am still recruiting participants for my pilot study. If you are UNNC’s final year students majored in architecture, product design or FoSS (Faculty of Social Sciences); and up for a bit of design session fun (yes I know yo do!). Visit http://www.miatedjosaputro.com . Bfn.

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ICoRD 2015, Bangalore, India.

20150103_icord poster_comp

ICoRD (International Conference on Research into Design) 2015. Bangalore, India.

The poster was presented after the brief podium presentation; during tea time.

Tedjosaputro, M., Shih, Y., Pradel, P. & Niblock, C. (2015). Multidisciplinary Design Behaviour Using Sketching and Mental Imagery: A Literature Review and Considerations for Future Research. In: Chakrabarti, A. (ed.) ICoRD’15 – Research into Design Across Boundaries Volume 1. Springer India.

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UNNC FoSE Research Showcase 2014


There is an upcoming PhD students poster competition held by the faculty. Posters have been submitted yesterday and they’ll be put on boards on Friday. I’d rather call it as ‘research showcase’, because of the opportunity to talk to people and peers about research is more valid.

So yes, say Hi this Friday 25 April 2014, anytime between 9-12am, SEB (Science and Engineering Building). Please pop along if you have a bit of free time. Lil birdie says that snacks+drinks will be provided!

A quickie poster by me about my research. Bfn.

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Why do I blog and “Why do academics blog?”

One might ask, why do a PhD student blog? To be honest, I don’t feel awkward about it. I have been blogging since I was in high school. It used to be dialogue between me and my best mate who studied in Australia and I am sure nobody else read it. The reminiscence of blogging came out when it was compulsory to maintain a design blog during my master study. At first it was unusual to ‘publish’ an on-going project, as designers tend to sort of be secretive about design process. But then I enjoyed it. It is good to freeze some on-going ideas and try to present it in a very casual manner. For me, the idea was borrowed from habits of dealing with design projects and applies it in my research.

However, I came across this published article about the growing trend about blogging.

Mewburn, I. & Thomson, P. (2013). Why do academics blog? An analysis of audiences, purposes and challenges. Studies in Higher Education, 38, 1105-1119.

It is observed by them that blog offer:

1) “reaching wider audiences and for networking” and it is related with the need to address impacts beyond academics (blue skies research).

Fortunately I just attended Research Impact workshop on Friday, and these impacts are seriously highlighted especially within UK Higher Institutions.

2) help academics to write in a  less serious way.

I do agree with this. We all know that writing is not easy (never will) and this platform is a good way to exercise. Especially for a non English native speaker like me. Aside from doing our research, because that is our priority, of course!

So, why not blogging?

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