These pages are being developed as part of the Qualitative Innovations in CAQDAS (QUIC) project, funded by the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). They provide a range of resources for researchers using software to support the process of qualitative data analysis.We update these pages regularly as new resources become available so please keep looking.
Here you can find the following:
i) Online materials : information about the support materials found here, including the rationale behind their development and the kinds of user we have in mind in designing them;
ii) Choosing Software : information to assist in making an informed decision between software packages;
iii) Planning for the use of software : information about factors to consider when planning for the use of software in different types of qualitative research project;
iii) Team-based research : information about planning for and using CAQDAS packages in team-based projects;
iv) Analytic Tasks and software tools : information and discussion about using qualitative software tools to support certain qualitative analytic tasks;
v) Analysing survey data : comparative information about using CAQDAS packages to analyse open-ended questions to survey data;
vi) Analysing visual data in CAQDAS packages : general information about preparing and using visual data in CAQDAS packages;
vii) Integrating geographical data : discussion and support for integrating geographical data and analyses using CAQDAS packages;
We always welcome feedback concerning the relevance and usefulness of our resources. Indeed, many of the materials we provide are the direct result of repeated requests from students and qualitative researchers. So if you have downloaded any of the materials above please email us with your comments.
QUIC Online Materials
QUIC’s Training and Capacity Building online materials concern the use of software to support qualitative research in various methodological and practical settings. We aim to provide ideas about how you may creatively manipulate software for your own needs rather than to promote an ‘ideal’ way of using any software package or tool.
The development of these materials was based on the common issues and problems researchers encounter in using CAQDAS packages which we have come across in our work with researchers and software users since the inception of the CAQDAS Networking Project in 1994. We also tracked the way researchers learn about and use different CAQDAS packages to inform this work. See the Working Papers section for more info on our longitudinal user-tracking project.
Further information about the history and remit of the CAQDAS Networking Project and QUIC
We provide two categories of online materials
The online materials developed by QUIC are split into two main types: the ‘generic’ and the ‘innovative’. Where relevant they are comparative, helping you to make informed choices between packages for practical or methodological reasons.
These materials are aimed primarily at researchers and students who are new to the use of CAQDAS packages. They do not assume any prior qualitative data analysis experience, although they will be useful to those who are making the switch from manual methods to the use of customized software. The development of these materials draw upon common questions which the CAQDAS Networking Project routinely receive and on data we are collecting from a longitudinal project tracking researchers’ use of software. Generic materials focus on three main topics:
1. choosing the most appropriate CAQDAS package for your project
2. planning for the use of your chosen software
3. making critical choices about the selection of tools for analytical and practical purposes
Methodologically innovative materials
These materials are aimed primarily at experienced qualitative researchers and software users and/or those working in the areas of mixed methods research, qualitative geography or visual data analysis. A basic understanding of CAQDAS packages is assumed, although these materials may also be useful to those who have not used customised software previously, but who are interested in finding out more about technological and methodological advancements in qualitative research. Methodologically innovative materials focus on:
1. ways of undertaking mixed method analysis using software
2. analysing different forms of visual data using software
3. using geo-referencing tools in CAQDAS packages
Formats of QUIC online materials
We provide a range of online materials for different purposes including the following:
1. flow-chart style overviews
2. tabular and textual comparisons
3. pdf documents
5. video descriptions and explanations
Where there are outside websites and resources which provide additional related information we provide links.
What we do not provide
Here we describe what you will not find on these pages…
We do not promote any particular software
We have no commercial ties with any software producer or company. We do not consider there to be any one ‘best’ CAQDAS package and we do not advocate the use of particular products. All our materials are developed out of our research work and experience of teaching and working with researchers using CAQDAS packages since 1994. For more information about the history and remit of the CAQDAS Networking Project and QUIC see the About Us page.
We do not advocate a ‘best’ or ‘ideal’ way of doing things
We do not consider there to necessarily be a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of using a tool for a particular purpose and we therefore do not advocate ‘one-fits-all’ solutions to methodological or practical issues. There are often several ways in which a task could be effectively achieved and it may often be a point of style or comfort in established ways of working which determine how you proceed. However, there may be things about how the software works which are useful to know at the outset so that you can make efficient use of the tool and avoid common difficulties. Where we consider a particular way of proceeding as being the most efficient we state this.
We do not provide step-by-step instructions for basic procedures in our online materials
Our online materials are not intended as step-by-step instructions for using any software in its entirety. This sort of support can be accessed from various places, including the relevant software developer websites and user-forums, software help menus, some books and websites and in the documentation provided if you attend a software-specific training course. Throughout our online materials we point you at relevant additional resources where we have found them to be particularly useful. In places we do provide step-by-step procedures where we are addressing particular methodological or practical tasks.
We do not teach you ‘how to do qualitative data analysis’
Neither in our training events, nor in our online materials, do we aim to teach ‘how to do qualitative data analysis’ per se. Some of our materials do have a strong methodological component however, and we also point you to further sources of information about qualitative methodologies and analytic tasks where appropriate. There are a multitude of methodological approaches to qualitative data analysis (QDA) and software tools can be used in different ways to support those needs effectively. If you are new to QDA visit the Introduction to Qualitative Data Analysis part of the Online QDA website for general information and starting points.