Analytic tasks and CAQDAS tools

These materials have been developed as a result of qualitative innovations in CAQDAS (QUIC) research into the ways researchers learn about and use computer assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS) packages.

'Moving beyond initial coding' discusses software tools which support the analytic tasks that can be usefully employed after the initial coding phase while 'Combining and converting qualitative and quantitative data' explores the ways in which CAQDAS packages can be used to support the integration of qualitative and quantitative data in mixed method research.

Our sources include the common questions asked of the CAQDAS networking project’s email and telephone helpline (details in the footer) and questions raised by researchers attending our intermediate to advanced training workshops.

Moving beyond initial coding

We have compiled this resource to provide some ideas or starting points as to how particular tools might be used creatively to view and think about coded data differently and thereby facilitate analytic development. The ideas presented here may be usefully employed in a range of approaches to qualitative data analysis, certainly all those which employ coding. They are also relevant to the full range of software packages.

The queries received by the CAQDAS networking project highlight that researchers frequently know what they want to achieve analytically, but do not yet feel confident enough with their chosen software package to do so. CAQDAS packages provide several tools that can facilitate the processes of what many refer to ‘moving on beyond coding’. Our longitudinal project tracking researchers’ use of a range of CAQDAS packages has also highlighted ‘moving beyond coding’ as a common concern or ‘sticking point’ when using software.

Thematic or conceptual coding in CAQDAS packages is straight-forward from a technical point of view. It is very easy for example, to apply codes to segments of data and the user has complete flexibility concerning basic coding tasks. It is important, however, to bear in mind that although qualitative coding has analytic purpose, it is not analysis in and of itself. Although coding may be an early stage of analysis, at some point the researcher needs to move beyond the process of descriptive, thematic or conceptual cataloguing or indexing of data.

Further reading

For more information on this research please see the briefing paper ‘Research design for longitudinal case study project’ briefing paper. For more information on qualitative data analysis more generally see the methodologies section of the online QDA website.

Combining and converting qualitative and quantitative data in CAQDAS packages: an aid to mixed method research

In this section we outline how different CAQDAS packages (e.g. ATLAS.ti, NVivo, MAXQDA, QDA Miner) enable the combining and converting of qualitative and quantitative data in order to support mixed methods research. This section is a starting point for this type of work; we do not provide step-by-step instructions for carrying out these tasks here, but overview some common capabilities.

As conducting mixed-method research becomes increasingly popular, interest in ways to combine and convert qualitative and quantitative data with the support of CAQDAS packages is also on the rise. In addition to an increase in literature discussing the issue and software packages implementing new tools to support mixed-methods approaches, we see this trend reflected in the questions asked at our qualitative software seminars and training sessions and requests for information received by our email / telephone helpline. In response to this need we provide materials to support those who are new to the topic.

Further reading

For more information consult individual software manuals and tutorials or visit related pages on this website such as analysing open-ended responses to survey data using CAQDAS packages.


Bazeley, P. (2018) Integrating analyses in mixed methods research. London: Sage

Bazeley, P. (1999). 'The Bricoleur with a Computer: Piecing together Qualitative and Quantitative Data', Qualitative Health Research, 9(2) pp.279-287

Fielding, J., Fielding, N. & Hughes, G. (2013) ‘Opening up Open-ended Survey Data Using Qualitative Software’, Quality & Quantity, 47(6) pp.3261-3276

Lewins, A., & Silver, C. (2007). Using Qualitative Software: A Step by Step Guide, London Sage Publications

Silver, C., & Fielding, N. (2008). 'Using Computer Packages in Qualitative Research', in Willig C & Stainton-Rogers W (eds.) The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology, London, Sage Publications

Silver C (2010) Research Design for Longitudinal Case-study Project: Tracking the use of software in real projects using different methodologies, QUIC Briefing Paper, Qualitative Innovations in CAQDAS (QUIC), The CAQDAS Networking Project

Silver C & Patashnick J (2011) ‘Finding Fidelity : Advancing Audiovisual Analysis using Software’, FQS 12(1), Thematic Issue: Is Qualitative Software Really Comparable?


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.