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NVIVO vs Devonthink

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Posted by Dellu
Jul 4, 2017 at 03:24 PM

 

I know most people in here are users of Devonthink. I was wondering if any of you have tried NVIVO, a professional research tool for annotating and aggregating data. How are the two different? In what contexts one can preferably use NVIVO over Devonthink, and vise versa?

 


Posted by Paul Korm
Jul 4, 2017 at 07:51 PM

 

Well, one difference is that NVIVO costs almost 8 times the top of the line edition of DEVONthink.

NVivo is structured mainly for qualitative data analysis, or QDA.  It is useful as a research tool in many fields, and specializes in “coding” text, images, audio, social media, and so on.  As NVivo’s site says “NVivo is software that supports qualitative and mixed methods research. It’s designed to help you organize, analyze and find insights in unstructured, or qualitative data like: interviews, open-ended survey responses, articles, social media and web content.”

DEVONthink is far less specialized.  While it is certainly used by researchers, it is actually not all that useful for QDA because its annotation features are mainly the same as macOS’s annotation features in Preview.  I.e., very limited.  DEVONthink has also gone through a lot of issues since Sierra messed up PDFKit—the basis for DEVONthink handling of PDFs.  DEVONthink is focused on document management, primarily, and secondarily on document creation, note taking, and annotation.  There is nothing that DEVONthink does in those secondary areas that is any better than the vanilla apps that come with macOS, and DEVONthink is far less adept at document creation and editing than the variety of specialized apps available on macOS.  DEVONthink keeps a concordance of words and metadata properties (tags, PDF properties, etc.) for all documents that it knows about in its databases, and uses that concordance to suggest matches, similar documents, and provide speedy search.  Back years ago (a decade) when DEVONthink first came out, these concordance features were call DEVONthink’s “AI”.  It’s sort of a quaint term today, in my opinion, DEVONthink’s “AI” is no where near real AI.

Anyway, you can get demos of each product, NVivo and DEVONthink, and the developers are pretty helpful.  If you have no idea what QDA is, then get a DEVONthink demo.  Buying NVivo for document management would be like buying 5-ton van to pick up the groceries.


Dellu wrote:
I know most people in here are users of Devonthink. I was wondering if
>any of you have tried NVIVO, a professional research tool for annotating
>and aggregating data. How are the two different? In what contexts one
>can preferably use NVIVO over Devonthink, and vise versa?

 


Posted by Hugh
Jul 4, 2017 at 07:53 PM

 

This is a broad and brief answer. In particular, I have not used NVIVO, merely read about it. NVIVO appears to be primarily a tool for analysing qualitative data; I do not know what methods it uses to do this.

DevonThink, which I have used for several years, is primarily a tool for storing, searching for and finding relations between large numbers of documents. It uses concordances for these purposes, but that is as far as its analytical features go.

 


Posted by Hugh
Jul 4, 2017 at 07:56 PM

 

Hugh wrote:
This is a broad and brief answer. In particular, I have not used NVIVO,
>merely read about it. NVIVO appears to be primarily a tool for analysing
>qualitative data; I do not know what methods it uses to do this.
> >DevonThink, which I have used for several years, is primarily a tool for
>storing, searching for and finding relations between large numbers of
>documents. It uses concordances for these purposes, but that is as far
>as its analytical features go.

Don’t bother with my answer - Paul’s is much fuller!

 


Posted by Dellu
Jul 4, 2017 at 09:30 PM

 

Thank you guys.
I just tried NVIVO today. My university has a license to it. So, basically, I ge it for free. I was just wondering if it can do better than Devonthink+Tinderbox of identifying relationships among snippets of ideas.

This concept of coding seems very important for NVIVO. I have never used this kind of research tool, even if I have been around the academics for a while now. Look at some tutorials, the application seems to target social scientists (interviews and primary data like social networks). I don’t do that kind of stuff. I am in theoretical linguistics. What we do is much of similar to what chemists and Biologists do.

NVIVO has similar word concordance features: more of like the Devontagent, actually. It also seems to work fine with the OneNote. That being interesting, I find it cumbersome for reading pdf files. Longer pdf documents are hard to navigate. The coding also needs a lot of manual work. I am wondering why the coding is better or different than tagging.

Paul’s answer is to the point.
I would like to see if sb could comment on how the combination of Devonthink and TB would compare with the combination of NVIVO and Onenote.

 


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