Training and support
If you have decided to use a CAQDAS package you need to think about where you will get training and support.
There are several issues you need to consider. One is what level of support the software can give to the kind of analysis you intend to do. Some forms of analysis are not well served by the software. In some cases specific programs may be of more assistance than other, more popular ones. In some cases maybe only certain stages or parts of your analysis may be well supported by software.
Another issue to think about is how easy or hard you might find it to learn the software, and how long you can spare to get familiar with it. Our recent survey of qualitative analysts suggested that most people using the software did not need long to get familiar and competent with its use. However, if you have only a few weeks to work on your analysis, even a short period of learning might be too much. Our experience also suggests that some people just find it very hard to learn to use new software. If you are one of those you might find it more fruitful, in the end, to stick with the traditional pencil and paper methods. A final factor to think about here is what kind of local support there is for the software you would like to use. If there are local experts who are happy to help you learn the program then that is good news. If not, you may need to factor in both time and money for training courses off-site.
The CAQDAS Networking Project provide practical support, training and information in the use of a range of software programs which have been designed to assist qualitative data analysis. The project also provides various platforms for debate concerning the methodological and epistemological issues arising from the use of such software packages. The CAQDAS Networking Project have no commercial links to any software developer or supplier. The project is in receipt of its fifth consecutive term of funding by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Videos of presentations by the project team members on innovative use of CAQDAS programs.
Software developers also list consultants and trainers on their website under a variety of headings: Support, Services, Training, Workshops and News.