Capture from Facebook


You can collect material from Facebook using NCapture and then import it into NVivo.

You can capture Facebook data as a:

  • Dataset that you can sort, filter and auto code in NVivo (not currently supported in NVivo for Mac).

  • PDF of the web page containing the Facebook posts.

To find out whether your version of NVivo supports importing Facebook data as a dataset or PDF, refer to Which versions of NVivo are compatible with NCapture?

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Capture from Facebook

To capture Facebook content and then import it into NVivo for Windows:

  1. In your web browser, go to www.facebook.com.

  2. Find the posts and comments you want to capture.  

  3. Click the NCapture button at the top of your browser. You can choose how you want to capture the content and provide additional information.

a  Select a Source type. By default Facebook data is captured as a dataset that you can sort, filter and auto code in NVivo. Alternatively, you can capture the web page containing the Facebook posts as a PDF. If you are capturing Group posts and are not the administrator of the Group, or if you are capturing your News Feed or a User wall, the web pages can be captured as PDF files only.

b  Review the default Source name. This will be the name of the source once it is imported into NVivo. If you want, you can change the name.

c You can enter a short Description or a Memo:

  • The description could describe what you are capturing—it becomes one of the source's properties.

  • The memo could record your reasons for capturing this data and how it relates to your research. It becomes a linked memo when the source is imported.  

d  In the Code at nodes box, you can enter one or more nodes that you want to code the content to. Then, when you import the content into NVivo, the entire source is coded at the nodes you entered.

If you enter a node that does not exist in your project—or incorrectly type the name of a node—a new node will be created during import. If you want to code to an existing node in your project (for example, a child node in a hierarchy), you can enter the hierarchical node name—for example, economy\tourism.

e  Click Capture. You can stop a capture—for example, if you only want to capture recent posts. An NCapture file will be created with the posts already captured. You can import NCapture files into your NVivo project. For more information on importing from Facebook, refer to one of the following:

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Tips for capturing Facebook content

Depending on the Facebook posts that you are viewing, you may see different capture options.

  • News Feed.  Your default view is usually the News Feed which you can only capture as a PDF.

  • User.  You can only capture a User wall as a PDF.

  • Page.  You can capture wall posts for a page as a dataset (note that the user name will not be captured.) You can also capture the web page containing the Page as a PDF file.

  • Public Group.  If you are the Admin of a public group, you can capture public group posts as a dataset or the web page as a PDF. Otherwise, you can only capture public group posts as a PDF file.

  • Private Group. You can only capture private group posts as a PDF file.

NOTE Capturing Facebook posts as a PDF file does not enable you to sort, filter or auto code the data. For more information about capturing content as a PDF, refer to Capture web pages.

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Authorizing NCapture in Facebook

The first time you capture Facebook posts while signed into Facebook, you will be prompted to authorize NCapture. This gives permission to NCapture to collect content that you have access to.

Facebook allows users to control who sees their posts. If you don't have permission to view the posts in your News Feed, you may not be able to capture the posts, even if you can see them on their Wall.

If you experience problems capturing Facebook posts as a dataset, you may need to clear the authorization and reauthorize.

For more information on what it means to authorize NCapture and to understand the privacy of your data, refer to Authorize NCapture.

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How many posts can I capture?

When you capture Facebook content as a dataset and import it into NVivo, you will generally get more than just the posts that were visible on the page. The number of posts that you can capture is determined by Facebook. The exact number may vary depending on the:

  • Number of posts available.

  • Privacy settings of the posting user.

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View the progress of your captures

As NCapture collects the posts and comments, you can see the number that are being captured.

If you are using NCapture for Chrome, you can start another capture on a new tab without needing to wait until the first capture is complete.

To see the progress of all captures for your current Chrome session.

  1. Click the NCapture button at the top of your browser.

  2. Click the Show capture progress page link—this page shows you the status of all captures for your current Chrome session.

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How do I stop a capture?

There may be times when you want to stop the capture process before it has finished—for example, if you want to limit the number of posts and comments on a popular Facebook page. NCapture will stop collecting further data and will create a file with the data already captured.

To stop a capture in Internet Explorer—click the Stop button.

To stop a capture in Chrome:

  1. Click the NCapture button at the top of your browser.

  2. Click the Show capture progress page link—this page shows you the status of all captures for your current Chrome session.

  3. Click the Stop button for the capture that you want to stop.

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