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Postgraduate users

This site is designed with several different kinds of user in mind. This is reflected in the menu items across the top of every page.

Complete beginner

This is someone who is new to qualitative data analysis in general and especially to the use of software. This might include researchers from backgrounds outside the social sciences who now need to undertake qualitative analysis or possibly those just starting social science PhDs who may have studied a little about qualitative research for their first degree, but who now feel they could do with a revision of the basics.

  • If you really are new to qualitative research then have a look first at some basic information about doing a qualitative research project. The Beginners page will prompt you with some questions you need to answer before starting your project.
  • Next explore the Analysis pages - this should inform you of the basic approaches and philosophy that underpin qualitative data analysis
  • In particular try to come to some clear view of what kind of analytic approach you are going to take. Many of these are reviewed in the Analysis pages. But you may also want to refer to further information about qualitative research approaches that can be found in the Resources menu on the left.
  • When you are clear about what qualitative analysis is and what kind of approach you favour for your project, then consider whether CAQDAS might assist your analysis. Look at the Using software and the Which s/w sections.
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Thinking of using software

This is someone who is familiar with qualitative analysis methods, but is now thinking about using software or has been advised to use software and needs to select an appropriate program.

  • Start with the Using software section - this will tell you what kinds of things the software can do and what kinds of methodological or analytical approach are best supported by the programs.
  • Next look at the Which s/w section. This will tell you what software is available, what it costs and help you choose the right program for your needs.
  • We have found that many of the problems with using software are in fact more general problems with using the computer. Check through the advice in IT Skills to make sure you know all the basics about using your computer.
  • When you have a copy of the program use the help in the Software Guides pages to get you going.

CAQDAS small log Of interest to UK researchers - Regular courses on how to use software are run at the CAQDAS networking project.

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Just starting with the software

This is someone with some or a lot of experience in doing qualitative data analysis but who is new to using software to assist with such analysis.

  • If you don't already have the software see the Which s/w section.
  • Use the help in the Software Guides pages to get you started or to reinforce what you have learned from a course.
  • What you experience as problems with using the software may well in fact be more general problems with using the computer. Check through the advice in IT Skills to make sure you know all the basics about using your computer.

CAQDAS small log Of interest to UK researchers - Regular courses on how to use software are run at the CAQDAS networking project. The website also contains a growing collection of materials about how to use the software in some of new areas of CAQDAS such as mixed methods, video and visual data and geographical information systems. These complement the tutorials on the software that can be found on the software publishers websites. See the links in the Software Guides.

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