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Qualitative Research & Tools

Find tutorials about conducting Qualitative research, including resources on methodologies and software.

What can computers help you do?

What can computers help you do?
  • Organize data, memos, and work from teams
  • Apply codes to overlapping segments of text
  • Retrieve all the text labeled with the same code (e.g., to view only one topic or question)
    • Makes it easier to identify additional elements of themes as sub-codes 
    • In most software you can retrieve text based on advanced searches such as overlapping or nearby codes
  • See the list of codes in one place to develop hypotheses
    • Group and arrange codes hierarchically to see larger themes
    • See which codes were used the most, or across the most data sources
  • Make changes as your understanding evolves
    • Rename, rearrange and merge codes
Coding Tips
  • Avoid too many codes. Each code (at least ultimately) should be used at least 4-6 times. Don't go over 100 codes without talking to someone, 20-50 is better.
  • Code using overlap. Instead of separate codes for "Positive Economy" "Postive Environment" "Negative Economy" and "Negative Economy", use "Negative", "Positive", "Environment", and "Economy". In this example, it isn't fewer codes, but it scales better and will be easier to compare later.
  • Code entire thoughts. Analysis is done through the retrieval phase where you look at the coded references. If you see just a bunch of single words that will not be helpful. Plus, that will not allow for coding overlap.

General resources on Computer-Aided QDA

See also the companion website with additional help for each software.