Advancing qualitative research using QDAS?

The research study that I conducted with co-authors from the University of Tennessee and the University of Tasmania has just come out in the Social Science Computing Review.

Advancing Qualitative Research Using Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS)? Reviewing Potential Versus Practice in Published Studies using ATLAS.ti and NVivo, 1994–2013

Megan Woods, Trena Paulus, David Atkins & Rob Macklin

Qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) programs are well-established research tools, but little is known about how researchers use them. This article reports the results of a content analysis of 763 empirical articles, published in the Scopus database between 1994 and 2013, which explored how researchers use the ATLAS.ti™ and NVivo™ QDAS programs.* The analysis specifically investigated who is using these tools (in terms of subject discipline and author country of origin), and how they are being used to support research (in terms of type of data, type of study, and phase of the research process that QDAS were used to support). The study found that the number of articles reporting QDAS is increasing each year, and that the majority of studies using ATLAS.ti™ and NVivo™ were published in health sciences journals by authors from the United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands, Canada, and Australia. Researchers used QDAS to support a variety of research designs and most commonly used the programs to support analyses of data gathered through interviews, focus groups, documents, field notes, and open-ended survey questions. Although QDAS can support multiple phases of the research process, the study found the vast majority of researchers are using it for data management and analysis, with fewer using it for data collection/creation or to visually display their methods and findings. This article concludes with some discussion of the extent to which QDAS users appear to have leveraged the potential of these programs to support new approaches to research.

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