Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
| University Libraries
See Updates and FAQs for the latest library services updates. Subject Librarians are available for online appointments, and Virtual Reference has extended hours.

Qualitative Research & Tools

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



Note the date of these sites, as software changes frequently!

Popular Software

All the major Qualitative software packages have implemented an exchange file format allowing you to transfer your project from one software to another. You can export to an exchange file and import that file into another softwar.e

  • Project Exchange  -  Allows the entire project to be converted from one software to another.
    • ATLAS.ti, Dedoose, MAXQDA, NVivo, QDA Miner, Quirkos, Transana
  • Codebook Exchange - Allows the codebook to be transferred from one software to another.
    • the above and f4analyse, HyerRESEARCH




Other Functions

Data Size


Mac or PC
 & Mobile

Memos & Theory Building
Made for Grounded Theory

Has Network Building



& Mobile

Exploration & Focus Groups
Friendly Interface & Emoticons

Suite has Text Mining & Statistics



Mac or PC

Flexibility & Organization
Popular & Familiar Interface

Supports Networks analysis and basic Text Mining


QDA Miner


Categorization & Basic Coding

Suite has Text Mining & Statistics


Free/Open Source

  • Taguette - Nice-looking web interface -- local or server install. Supports basic code and retrieve with tags. 
  • QCoder - R package with some GUI options. 


These make it easier to collaborate with others and offer per-month pricing, (~$10-15/month) which can be useful for shorter project

  • Atlas.ti Cloud - Slick, mostly code-and-retrieve, with colored (but not hierarchical) codes/tags
  • Dedoose - Full-featured software designed for mixed methods projects with fewer but more complex codes (allows ratings)


These do not seem to have advantages over the above at this time, unless simplicity is the primary goal.

  • f4analyse - Evolved from transcription software. Available for Linux. Limited to RTF files, but very simple coding and clean interface.
  • HyperRESEARCH - Mac-like multi-window interface. Easy to code and does not require a powerful computer. Demo mode for small projects.
  • Quirkos - Simplistic visual interface with expanding bubbles representing used codes.
  • transana  - Evolved from transcription software

Teaching with Qualitative Software

Mason does not have a site license for any Qualitative software.

It is important to distinguish between full-featured Qualitative packages and basic code-and-retrieve software. Although it is good for students to be exposed to full-featured software, the basic packages can be far easier to learn. 

Among the full-featured software, NVivo is the most flexible and familiar of all the options and thus is a good choice for teaching. Thus, the Digital Scholarship Center Computer Lab has installed NVivo on all the computers in the lab and hosts classes for hands-on workshops when possible. DiSC maintains at least one license for each of the other major full-featured packages (MAXQDA, Atlas.ti, and QDA Miner), as each has special features that make it best for certain tasks. 

Free and Cross-Platform

  • Taguette - Free and Open-Source (Python)
    • Available online (free registration), on your own server, or installed (local server)
    • Basic code-and-retrieve keeps it simple; server version allows collaborators.
  • MAXQDA - Free Course License for Students
    • For class use only, no license for the instructor
    • Fully-featured qualitative software with a free reader software for sharing

Extended Trials

  • Atlas.ti Cloud Trial version is limited in number of documents and codes
  • Atlas.ti - Trial version is limited in number of documents and codes
  • MAXQDA -30 day free trial
  • Dedoose - 30 day free trial, monthly pricing
    • Fully-featured online software. Designed for mixed-methods.

Other Software to Consider

  • QDA Miner Lite (Windows Only)
    • Basic code-and-retrieve, no limits. Project can be opened in the non-lite version.