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Researchers

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 Intro to QDA 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 Intro to QDA 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 Intro to CAQDAS 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 Intro to CAQDAS 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 Step-by-step s/w 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 Step-by-step s/w 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.

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Problems using the software

Sometimes problems are felt by researchers with a lot of experience in doing qualitative data analysis but who who have only recently started using software to assist with such analysis. In other cases these kinds of problems can happen when the researcher is neither very familiar with qualitative analysis nor with CAQDAS. A typical feeling experienced in this case by researchers is that though they have put lots of effort into coding in the software (and other functions like creating models and memoing) they seem to be getting no nearer to a clear analytic understanding of their data.

  • Check the advice in the Advanced s/w pages.
  • If there are any actions or functions in the software you are unsure of then look (again) at the Step-by-step s/w pages.

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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