Here are some hints about how to use the resources on this site
As an undergraduate you may be new to qualitative data analysis or you may be doing a more advanced course but need some assistance revising ideas or getting a better understanding of the ideas. You are probably taking a degree in the social sciences, business or education which requires you to follow a course or unit on qualitative research or to undertake a dissertation.
- If this is the first time you have taken a course on qualitative research then the Beginners page will prompt you with some questions you need to answer before starting a project.
- Next explore the Analysis pages - this should inform you of the basic approaches and philosophy that underpin qualitative data analysis. There are links in these pages to audio and video materials.
- Next look at some of the text, audio and video material in the Tutorial sections. The advice below on this page contains a lot more detail about how to use the tutorial material and where you might start. Or you can dip straight in using the items in the Tutorials menu.
- If you are undertaking a project you will need to think about what analytic approach you are using. This may well be dictated by the requirements of the course you are taking. 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.
Need to learn about analysis
If you need to learn about thematic analysis and coding then read through the pages under the Intro QDA menu. The give a short introduction to the ideas and activities behind coding qualitative data to analyse it. There are some short and simple exercises here and links to other resources, including some video material, that you might find useful.
Wanting to use the tutorials
If you are currently doing a course on qualitative analysis, especially of the thematic coding kind then you might find the topic base arrangement of materials in the Tutorial menu useful. Alternatively, if you are about to embark on a complete qualitative research project of your own, then you might find it more interesting to follow through the narratives of each of the case studies. This will take you from getting the idea, to sorting out the sample, collecting the data via the actual analysis to writing up the results. The narratives can be found under the first item of the Tutorial menu.
Thinking of using software
Some undergraduates may also need to use the software that supports qualitative analysis, called CAQDAS (Computer Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS) software. This software assumes you are familiar with qualitative analysis techniques.
- 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.
- If you have some choice of what software to use 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 and links in the Software Guides pages to get you going.
Of interest to UK researchers - Regular courses on how to use software are run at the CAQDAS networking project. There is also material here on how to use the more innovative aspects of the software.