Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis (CAQDAS) networking project

Research in Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis

Brief details of completed funded research projects by the Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis (CAQDAS) networking project  in the Department of Sociology are listed here. Further details can be obtained either by visiting the relevant websites or by contacting those involved in the research.

Qualitative innovations in CAQDAS

Qualitative innovations in CAQDAS (QUIC) built on the work of the CAQDAS networking project to explore technological and methodological developments in qualitative software further and provide additional training and capacity building opportunities to fill identified gaps in support for software users.

Methodological innovations in computational support

Using data generated from the substantive areas of environmental risk and crime and social disorder QUIC focused on three key areas of development in computational qualitative social science methodology:

  1. Full integration of quantitative and qualitative data in mixed-methods research
  2. Systematic analysis of multi-stream visual data (e.g. access grid data)
  3. Convergence of geographical information systems (GIS) technology with qualitative software.

We evaluated the suitability of different qualitative packages in these respects and derived exemplars, teaching datasets, and self-learning materials from each mini-research project. These are available in the support area of this website. We also run methodological seminars to discuss methodological aspects of using CAQDAS packages to facilitate the analysis of qualitative data.

Data integration

Dates

Start date: 1 September 2008
End date: 15 September 2011

Summary

The data integration stream evaluated and documented procedures for CAQDAS-based methodological integration by:

  1. Employing selected qualitative software packages to conduct secondary analysis of qualitative data on the social factors in response to natural environmental risk arising from climate change.
  2. Comparing findings from these procedures to the statistical analysis of the quantitative data in these datasets. QSR NVivo, MAXQDA and ATLAS.ti variously provide means of importing quantitative data and linking with qualitative datasets, converting qualitative codes into quantitative variables and allowing their export to statistical packages.

We also included the hybrid software suite that includes QDA Miner 3 which starts from a different epistemological starting points, as it offers traditional CAQDAS functions which can be used alongside enhanced quantitative approaches to the analysis of large datasets (e.g. multidimensional scaling, heatmaps, dendrograms, proximity plots). Such tools answer a wider range of research needs, often associated with policy research, public/media/academic discourse, or analysis of Internet and e-mail data.

Outputs and guidance

For outputs created under QUIC's work on data integration, please see the materials within the analysing survey data pages. This material includes guidance for users of various CAQDAS packages as well as documentation that addresses some of the key issues to think about when analysing open-ended survey questions.

Researchers

Visual analysis

Dates

Start date: 1 September 2008
End date: 15 September 2011

Summary

The second QUIC research project related to multi-stream visual data. Social science increasingly uses visual data, and a new networked video conferencing technology called 'access grid' will allow people at many locations to participate in 'virtual fieldwork' or teaching sessions convened by a host site.

The project aimed to refine and document procedures developed in the previous two years for the use of the access grid in primary data collection and advanced pedagogy. It built on an ESRC e-social science project that delivered the world's first 'virtual fieldwork' via the access grid, and on an institution-funded pilot project delivering advanced software training via the access grid. Thus, the project aim was to document how to analyse AG multi-stream visual data using CAQDAS, and deliver training via AG.

The substantive test-bed application was to conduct virtual fieldwork involving staff of the Environment Agency and/or National Probation Service.

Outputs and guidance

For outputs created under QUIC's work on the analysis of video and other audiovisual data forms, please see the materials within the analysing audiovisual data pages. This material includes information on how to prepare audiovisual data for analysis in CAQDAS packages, a page on ethical considerations in relations to analysing video data, guidance for users of various CAQDAS packages, as well as a write-up of a research exemplar of a project undertaken in Transana 2.42.

Researchers

Geo-referencing and CAQDAS

Dates

Start date: 1 September 2008
End date: 15 September 2011

Summary

The geo-referencing project applied and evaluated CAQDAS tools that offer GIS-type functionality, via geo-referencing a crime risk assessment methodology which explores the social environmental risk arising from crime/disorder. Geo-referencing qualitative software will enable users to add a spatial dimension to qualitative data analysis.

Currently users of GIS and of CAQDAS do not much intersect, yet the gains in being able to code, annotate and analytically manipulate visual representations of physical space with CAQDAS functionality are attractive. Using environmental scan methodology developed to support police/community crime audits, this stream will evaluate the affordances of GIS-type CAQDAS functionality and develop an exemplar study for the TCB component of the node's work.

Outputs and guidance

For outputs created under QUIC's work on developments in how geographical data can be integrated with other forms of qualitative data, please see the materials within the integrating geo-data pages. These pages provide support materials to analyse audio and transcript data generated from mobile interviews in relation to corresponding location data collected through GPS technology. We also explored the linking of photographs and sketch maps within the analysis.

Researchers

Training and capacity building (TCB) programme

The capacity building strand sought to develop new ways of supporting researchers at different stages of software use, in promoting the adoption of advanced analytic techniques and software tools, and in illustrating such innovations through an outreach seminar series, exemplar projects and web-based learning materials.

QUIC continued to deliver a core, well-established training and capacity building programme in qualitative software. A new model of two-day training workshops provided more focused support for those already with data. Our advanced seminar series continued with contributions from methodologists, software developers and users, but included additional seminars discussing the progress in our MICS work.

We also developed a new range of on-line training materials, including interactive protocols and software exemplars, for planning and managing software projects and for manipulating software to support analytic strategies in a range of disciplines and qualitative methodologies. Results from the MICS projects and software users' experiences were used in developing these materials.

QUIC was a collaboration between the University of Surrey and Royal Holloway, University of London, based in the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey. The project started in September 2008 and ended on 14 September 2011.

Development of interactive protocols for choosing, planning and using CAQDAS packages

Dates

Start date: 1 February 2009
End date: 28 February 2011

Summary

This project will combine empirical research and software training to develop a set of interactive web-based protocols for different practical and methodological purposes. Alongside the existing one-day training programme, we will be running a new series of two-day training workshops in the use of leading qualitative software at which participants work with their own data. A sample of participants from each workshop will be invited to partake in a longitudinal project in which we track their use of software. Their experiences will contribute to the design of the online protocols for choosing, planning and using CAQDAS packages.

We aim to develop two sets of protocols. Firstly generic protocols to facilitate novice software users in three key areas: i) making informed and critical choices between packages; ii) planning software use and setting up projects efficiently; iii) and using software to facilitate different methodological approaches to qualitative data analysis. Secondly, software specific protocols which focus on more advanced aspects of analysis and software use derived from the MICS projects and focusing on aspects of data management and team working.  

Researchers

Development of online teaching materials deriving from methodological innovations in computational support projects (MICS)

Dates

Start date: 1 February 2009
End date: 28 February 2011

Summary

The analysis conducted for the data integration, visual analysis and GIS-CAQDAS projects will be tracked and documented as the research proceeds such that analytic tasks performed using particular software tools can be systematically compared and evaluated.

Researchers

Awareness raising advanced seminar series

Dates

Start date: 1 February 2009
End date: 28 February 2011

Summary

The final stream will provide an ongoing seminar series to disseminate work conducted by QUIC. We have identified several ‘breaking areas’ of qualitative methodology, all of which are ripe for systematic evaluation and documentation. We seek to exploit the track record of the CAQDAS project to implant the new areas in the toolkit of UK social researchers. All three methodological streams aim to use the development and refinement stage conducted by the research officers to derive a set of principles and practical techniques to form a pedagogy that can then be transferred to the mainstream CAQDAS programme and delivered by the existing project staff. Following our successful pilot work on AG-mediated pedagogy, some awareness raising events will be via Access Grid.

Researchers