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Computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) supports the content analysis in qualitative research. Qualitative researchers apply open strategies to collect data, that are usually unstructured. The traditional techniques used in qualitative research were observation, introspection, narratives, discussion groups, interviews, etc. The researchers transcribed them and CAQDAS only analysed the written texts. Nowadays, data could be analysed not only as written text but also as audio, photo, or video without transcription (linguistics).
CAQDAS provide powerful means to improve the analysis, to gain rigorousness, to increase speed, and facilitate further contrasts and conclusions. However, CAQDAS do not realise usually automatic analysis: the researcher has to decide which is the best transcription, which is the adequate analysis unit, which are the relevant segments or elements to code, which are the codes and how he/she is organising them, the complexity of the coding strategy, etc. CAQDAS are only a help; a very useful help; but only a help.
As a general approach, a CAQDAS could have these tools:
Kinds of CAQDAS
The CAQDAS Networking project lists most of the following tools:
Free / open source software for CAQDAS
- Coding Analysis Toolkit (CAT)
- WP-QDA Marked Text a Wordpress plugin that allows rudimentary CAQDAS
- WEFT QDA
- Stories Matter
- Transana (Is a pay software, though it has a GPL licence) (it needs QuickTime)
Proprietary software for CAQDAS
Web-Based CAQDAS software
- Quantitative research
- Qualitative marketing research
- Qualitative psychological research
- Sampling (case studies)
- Huber, G. L. & Gürtler, L. (2004) AQUAD Six. Manual for the Analysis of Qualitative data. Tübingen: Ingeborg Huber Verlag. Download
- Lyons, E. & Coyle, A. (2007) Analysing qualitative data in psychology. London: Sage.
- Ragin, C. C. (1989) The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Google Books
- Richardson, J. T. E. (1996, Ed.) Handbook of qualitative research methods for psychology and the social sciences. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Smith, J. A. (2008) Qualitative Psychology: A Practical Guide to Research Methods. London: Sage.
- ResearchWare -- developers of HyperRESEARCH QDA software
- Harald Klein's comprehensive guide to CAQDAS
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