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Qualitative Research & Tools

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

Conversion

Comparisons

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

  • Codebook Exchange - Allows the codebook to be transferred from one software to another.
    • ATLAS.ti, Dedoose, f5analyse, MAXQDA, NVivo, QDA Miner, Quirkos, Transana
  • Project Exchange  -  Allows the entire project to be converted from one software to another.
    • ATLAS.ti, f5analyse, NVivo, QDA Miner, Quirkos, Transana

Software

OS

Strengths

Other Functions

Data Size

Atlas.ti

Mac or PC
 & Mobile

Memos & Theory Building
Made for Grounded Theory

Has Network Building

Medium

MAXQDA

Mac/PC
& Mobile

Exploration & Focus Groups
Friendly Interface & Emoticons

Suite has Text Mining & Statistics

Any

NVivo

Mac or PC

Flexibility & Organization
Popular & Familiar Interface

Plus version has Networks and basic Text Mining

Large

QDA Miner

PC

Categorization & Basic Coding

Suite has Text Mining & Statistics
 

Any

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. 

Online

These make it easier to collaborate with others and offer per-month pricing, 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)

Alternatives

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.