Analysing audiovisual data

These pages provide information relating to the analysis of audio visual data using CAQDAS packages. These materials are derived from Qualitative innovations in CAQDAS (QUIC) work on audiovisual analysis.

Here you can access information about preparing audio-visual data for use in CAQDAS packages, comparative discussions about using particular packages for audio visual analysis and discussions on the ethical implications of using and archiving audio visual data. In addition is a variety of information about and reflections upon one of QUIC's research projects which analysed multi-stream video data using the software package Transana.

Preparing data for use in CAQDAS packages

In the following sections, we discuss preparing and using different types of multimedia data with various CAQDAS packages:

  1. Using multimedia data in CAQDAS packages (codecs, streaming, synchronising)
  2. Preparing different file formats for the use in CAQDAS packages (images, audio files, video files)
  3. Work-arounds for potential problems, when working with multimedia files in CAQDAS packages.

We start by outlining general information about digital media data including aspects of codecs, streaming and synchronising. After a general introduction we will discuss preparation tasks (the issue of collecting data, aspects of editing including synchronisation of multiple media files, and data handling in different CAQDAS packages) for each file format separately: image, audio and video. See ‘further resources’ for links to related topics and sources.


The advice given here is by no means fully exhaustive but should provide a starting point for planning for the analysis of multi-media data using CAQDAS packages. We do not cover specific software tools or analytic procedures for analysing multi-media data, although there are some comparative functionality tables in the sections on images, audio and video files.

Research project exemplar

Ethical considerations

Analysing audio-visual data

This section provides commentary on aspects relating to the use of selected CAQDAS software packages to analyse audio visual data. Information on each individual software package should be read in conjunction with the comparative techniques for analysing data section below.


This does not constitute a full description of software functionality or analytic strategies, but acts as a starting point for planning for the use of a particular software package and making comparisons with other software products. For more general reviews of functionality see choosing software or individual software websites.


Most CAQDAS packages handle still images, audio files or video files. The following four packages provide most flexibility: ATLAS.ti, DRS, NVivo and Transana, but individual projects have specific needs and therefore it is recommended that the options are investigated in order to make an informed choice. We also recommend preparing multimedia files before assigning them to any CAQDAS package to increase compatibility and to work on copies within CAQDAS packages; storing the original files in a different location to avoid loss of data. If possible collect data and save it from the very beginning in a file format that suits most CAQDAS packages. Always be prepared to convert files, however, as the choice of CAQDAS package might involve downloading a suitable converter and editing program before starting to analyse the data.

Further reading