Dr Christina Silver

Research Fellow

Qualifications: B.A. (Essex) M.Sc. PhD (Surrey)

Phone: Work: 01483 68 9455
Room no: 03 AD 03

Further information


Christina graduated from Essex University in 1997 in Politics and Sociology, after which she came to Surrey and completed the Social Research Methods M.Sc. with distinction and she obtained her ESRC funded PhD comparing the development of school-based sex education in England and Wales and the Netherlands in 2002.

Christina has been working with the CAQDAS Networking Project on an ad hoc basis since 1998 and joined the Project formally in 2002 as part-time Resource Officer and Course Tutor. She is now the CAQDAS Networking Project Manager. 

The Project provides platforms of debate concerning the use of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS (CAQDAS). We train students and researchers in a number of CAQDAS packages, run an advisory telephone help-line, website, the ‘qualitative software' electronic discussion list and develop and teach new courses. Christina also advises and trains research teams on their use of CAQDAS software.

The CAQDAS Networking Project is currently working on a new project funded by the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM). Qualitative Innovations in CAQDAS (QUIC) explores three new breaking developments in the use of CAQDAS alongside our training and capacity building activities. The first concerns the support that software provides for integrating qualitative and quantitative data, the second the analysis of multi-stream visual data and the third the convergence of GIS and CAQDAS technology. We are developing exemplars and self-learning materials.

As well as working with the CAQDAS Networking Project, Christina has been commissioned to carry out research projects for a number of independent organisations including a collaborative Action Research Project between East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, the Centre for the Development of Health Care Policy and Practice (CDNPP) at Leeds University and the Facilities Management Graduate Centre (FMGC) at Sheffield Hallam University. Christina is also an Associate Consultant for the Centre for the Development of Nursing Policy and Practice (CDNPP) at Leeds University.

Research Interests

Qualitative Methodology

Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis

Access Grid Technology

Research Collaborations

Online QDA and Requallo

Merlien Institute 

Kwalon, Dutch Platform for Qualitative Research


Journal articles

  • Silver C, Rivers CB. (2015) 'The CAQDAS Postgraduate Learning Model: an interplay between methodological awareness, analytic adeptness and technological proficiency'. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, Article number 13/126


    This paper presents an empirically-derived CAQDAS Postgraduate Learning Model (CPLM) that illustrates the importance of integrated learning of qualitative methodology and technology for postgraduate students. Developed from analysis of a qualitative data-set of interview transcripts, survey responses and support-session observations constructed from two previous studies, CPLM brings the fields of technology acceptance/adoption and CAQDAS together. Analysis reveals that initial enthusiasm for the potential of software is often tempered by frustrations with actual, independent use. However, despite frustrations being attributed to lack of software functionality, CPLM illustrates that successful use of CAQDAS technology amongst postgraduate students is related to methodological awareness, adeptness in the techniques of analysis and technological proficiency.

  • Silver C, Woolf NH. (2015) 'From guided instruction to facilitation of learning: The development of Five-level QDA as a CAQDAS pedagogy that explicates the practices of expert users'. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18 (5), pp. 527-543.


    This paper introduces Five-level QDA as a CAQDAS pedagogy that spans methodologies, software packages and teaching modes. Based on the authors’ personal trajectories of using, teaching and researching CAQDAS since the late-1990s, the paper illustrates the need for a CAQDAS pedagogy by describing the challenges of learners in powerfully harnessing CAQDAS packages. The principles behind Five-level QDA are outlined, which focus on the contrast between the strategies and tactics of conducting QDA with software, and the need to translate between these. The implementation of Five-level QDA as an adaptable method of instruction is illustrated through the use of Analytic Planning Worksheets in the Recurring Hourglass design.

  • Silver C. (2014) 'QDA Miner (with WordStat and SimStat)'. Journal of Mixed Methods Research,


    There are many Computer Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS (CAQDAS) packages. Most are powerful tools supporting the range of qualitative analytic techniques. QDA Miner (http://www.provalisresearch.com/) is one of a suite designed by Provalis Research for textual and image analysis. In its own right QDA Miner is a sophisticated package for conducting robust code-based analysis; when integrated with WordStat and SimStat, possibilities for conducting mixed analyses of mixed data are greatly extended. Provalis Research’s tools in most respects equal others’ in supporting code-based qualitative analysis but outstrip those for quantitative,mixed, and statistical analysis. This review highlights QDA Miner’s distinguishing features and summarizes functions of its concurrent use with WordStat and SimStat that make it a particularly good choice for mixed methods analysis.

  • Evers J, Silver C. (2014) 'Conference Report: The First ATLAS.ti User Conference'. Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15 (1) Article number 19


    The first ATLAS.ti User Conference took place in its hometown, the beautiful city of Berlin and the political capital of Germany. The event was conceptualised, organised and chaired by Susanne FRIESE of Quarc Consulting, an expert ATLAS.ti user and trainer (and author of "Qualitative Data Analysis with ATLAS.ti": FRIESE, 2012) with long-standing and close links to the software development team. It was hosted by the Center of Technology and Society at the Technical University Berlin, represented by Martina SCHÄFER. Some sixty participants attended from all over the globe, as was visible by the coloured paper ribbons we each received upon arrival and wore on our badges. These represented four continents: Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe, and constituted a striking visual representation of the reach of ATLAS.ti. We share our impressions of the conference below.

  • Silver C. (2013) 'CAQD Conference 2013. Marburg, Germany, 6-9 March 2013, Marburg Research Group for Methodology and Evaluation (MAGMA), Phillips University, Marburg'. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, 14 (2)


    Nestled on the banks of the river Lahn in central Germany, the 15th CAQD conference was held at Marburg. A beautiful provincial town, it is one of very few that was spared the bombings of WWII; now providing the perfect backdrop for meeting to discuss developments in qualitative technology. This was the second international conference in the series with more than 140 delegates from 14 countries, including: Canada, Brazil, Portugal, the UK, as well as Germany. Hosted by MAGMA, the Marburg Research Group for Methodology and Evaluation, in partnership with Philipps-University Marburg, CAQD prioritizes a user-focus which balances practical and methodological workshops with conference presentations. © 2013 FQS.

  • Silver C, Patashnick J. (2011) 'Finding Fidelity : Advancing Audiovisual Analysis using Software'. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12 (1) Article number 37


    Specialised software for the analysis of qualitative data has been in development for the last thirty years. However, its adoption is far from widespread. Additionally, qualitative research itself is evolving, from projects that utilised small, text-based data sets to those which involve the collection, management, and analysis of enormous quantities of multimedia data or data of multiple types. Software has struggled to keep up with these changes for several reasons: 1. meeting the needs of researchers is complicated by the lack of documentation and critique by those who are implementing software use and 2. audiovisual data is particularly challenging due to the multidimensionality of data and substantial variety in research project aims and output requirements. This article discusses the history of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS (CAQDAS) as it relates to audiovisual data, and introduces the term "fidelity" as a conceptual mechanism to match software tools and researcher needs. Currently available software tools are examined and areas found lacking are highlighted.

  • Silver C. (2009) 'Qualitative Research Design for Software Users'. FIELD METHODS, 21 (4), pp. 416-418.
  • O'Neill F, Silver C. (2002) 'O’Neill, F & Silver C (2002) ‘Improving Patients’ Hospital Experience: Team-working and the Integration of Non-clinical and Clinical Roles’,'. Practice Development in Health Care, 1 (2), pp. 98-103.
  • Silver C. (2000) 'Masculinity and femininity: The taboo dimension of national cultures'. ETHNIC AND RACIAL STUDIES, 23 (6), pp. 1125-1126.

Conference papers

  • Silver C, Rivers C. (2013) 'Learning from the Learners: the role of technology acceptance and adoption theories in understanding researchers’ early experiences with CAQDAS packages'. Berlin: ATLAS.ti User Conference 2013 : Fostering Dialog on Qualitative Methods


    This paper presents findings of a qualitative longitudinal study tracking the use of different CAQDAS tools over the period of 12 months. This is the first project of its kind that follows researchers from learning a CAQDAS software to applying skills and using it in a research project. Findings illustrate that initial enthusiasm with the potential of software is often tempered by frustrations with its actual use. Users frequently attribute frustrations and cessation of use to lack of software functionality. However, successful adoption of CAQDAS technology is related to methodological awareness, adeptness in the techniques of analysis and technological understanding. Theories of technology acceptance and adoption have been used to contextualise findings and to develop a CAQDAS-specific model that helps teaching CAQDAS software.

  • Rivers C, Silver C, Woodger NT. (2011) 'Camera set-up, image placement and interactive devices in virtual learning environments. Increasing the feeling of co-presence and interactivity in Access Grid mediated sessions'. Orlando, Florida: The 9th International Conference on Education and Information Systems, Technologies and Applications: EISTA 2011


    Virtual learning environments such as Access Grid Node technology offer new ways of teaching to multiple remote sites. This paper investigates the potential of using Access Grid technology for delivering training sessions to remote and co-located learners. Qualitative thematicbased analysis of textual and audiovisual data reveals that co-presence and interactivity are related to camera positioning and image placement. This paper proposes alternative set-ups for large and small virtual teaching sessions and the use of interactive devices to facilitate the feeling of co-presence, support interactivity and encourage active participation. After contextualizing the research by introducing general issues with respect to Access Grid technology this paper describes the methodology and research design including teaching session formats, the AG technology used, participants and data collection methods. It suggests ways to increase the feeling of co-presence and interactivity in remote teaching sessions.


  • Silver C, Lewins A. (2014) Using Software in Qualitative Research: A Step-by-Step Guide. 2nd Edition. London : Sage Publications
  • Lewins A, Silver C. (2007) Using Software in Qualitative Research : A step-by-step guide. Sage Publications Limited


    The text considers tasks and processes, bringing them together to demystify qualitative software and encourage flexible and critical choices and uses of software in supporting analysis.

Book chapters

  • Silver C, Lewins A. (2013) 'Computer Assisted Analysis of Qualitative Research: trends, potentials and cautions'. in Leavy P (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods Oxford University Press
    [ Status: Accepted ]


    This chapter looks at the current state of technological support for qualitative research. Technological developments have enabled new forms of data and other analyses to be incorporated into qualitative work. The chapter focuses on technology and how it assists three main aspects of qualitative research: data collection, preparation and/or transcription; bibliographic management and systematic literature reviews; data management and analysis. The main body of the chapter discusses the functionality, role and implications of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS (CAQDAS) tools. Three recent trends in computer assistance are emphasized: support for visual analysis; support for mixed methods approaches; and online solutions.

  • Silver C, Lewins A. (2010) 'Computer assisted qualitative data analysis'. in Peterson P, Baker E, McGraw B (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Education 3rd Edition. Oxford : Elsevier 6, pp. 326-334.


    The article summarizes some of the approaches, tactics, and tools to describe ways that researchers can qualitatively analyze qualitative data. A short background to the development of Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysisSoftware packages leads to the parameters of the software category described. Elements of project planning and different aspects of managing qualitative data are discussed with emphasis given to developing functionality and the various types of data which can now be integrated and incorporated. Descriptions of the ways that specific and generally available types of tools within software can help aims to promote the idea that the researcher can individually choose the tools which will support a chosen analytic direction. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Silver C. (2008) 'Participatory approaches to social research'. in Gilbert N (ed.) Researching Social Life 3rd Edition. SAGE Publications Ltd. Article number 6 , pp. 101-124.
  • Silver C, Fielding NG. (2008) 'Using Computer Packages in Qualitative Research'. in Willig C, Stainton-Rogers W (eds.) Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology London : Sage


    The support that information technology offers for social and behavioural science research does not simply depend on the development of computer science but on the methodological requirements and analytic practices of given disciplines. Increasing interest in computer-assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS) in psychology relates in part to changes in the professional standing of qualitative research methods. Regardless of debates over the status of qualitative methods in psychology, there are sufficient generic features in the analysis of qualitative data in the human sciences that the IT tools currently available will offer psychologists useful support for their work. While the disciplinary context in which CAQDAS originally developed was skewed somewhat to sociology, psychologists contributed to the development of these tools. This software field is somewhat distinctive in that, from the outset, development has generally been driven by academic social scientists, aided by programmers.

  • Silver C, Fielding N. (2008) 'Using Computer Packages in Qualitative Research'. in Willig C, Stainton-Rogers W (eds.) Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology London : Sage
  • Silver C. (2006) 'The Ethnograph (Version 5.0)'. in (ed.) The SAGE Dictionary of Social Research Methods


    One of a number of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) programs designed to facilitate the management and analysis of qualitative data. Originally developed in 1985 by the sociologist John Seidel, it is now marketed through Qualis Research Associates.

  • Silver C. (2006) 'ATLAS.ti'. in (ed.) The SAGE Dictionary of Social Research Methods


    One of a number of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) programs designed to facilitate the management and analysis of qualitative data. It was originally developed as an exercise to support grounded theorizing.

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