Using qualitative software in policy research


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Using qualitative software in policy research

  1. 1. Using Qualitative Software in Policy Research GWIPP Brownbag By Susanne Beechey and Leah Curran
  2. 2. Why Use Software? <ul><li>You could use Excel to do quantitative research… </li></ul><ul><li>You could use Word to do qualitative research…. </li></ul><ul><li>But there is better software to facilitate systematic research. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why Use Software for Policy Research? <ul><ul><li>Organize data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free researcher to focus on thinking (not calculating or organzing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be more systematic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be more transparent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Process large amounts of data or process data in detailed fashion </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Why Use Qualitative Software? <ul><ul><li>Project management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bring together work from multiple people easily into one document </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organize and systematize analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connect individual data points </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See patterns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Map ideas across multiple data points or documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help you abstract from data to ideas while still staying close to data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supports iterative process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connect ideas directly to data easily </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. What Does Qualitative Software NOT Do? <ul><ul><li>Do the analysis or coding for you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teach you how to do the analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Take a class or at a minimum read some books </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide methodological or analytic framework or proscribe one type of analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>By using this software you are not automatically doing grounded theory, though you can do grounded theory using this software. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Qualitative Software Is Flexible <ul><li>Not just counting words, though you can </li></ul><ul><li>Inductive and deductive and everything in between </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can start with list of codes to look for in data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can create data from codes </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Key Tasks Supported by Most Software Packages <ul><li>Planning and managing project </li></ul><ul><li>Writing analytic memos </li></ul><ul><li>Reading, marking and commenting on data </li></ul><ul><li>Searching for strings, words, phrases, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Developing coding scheme </li></ul><ul><li>Coding </li></ul><ul><li>Retrieving of coded segments </li></ul><ul><li>Recoding </li></ul><ul><li>Organizing data </li></ul><ul><li>Hyperlinking </li></ul><ul><li>Searching database and coding schemes </li></ul><ul><li>Mapping </li></ul><ul><li>Generating output </li></ul>
  8. 8. What Packages Are Available? <ul><li>Atlas.ti </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Free limited trial version (size limited, not time limited) </li></ul><ul><li>Atlas.ti Education price $510 </li></ul><ul><li>Atlas.ti Student price (full version with student discount) $160 </li></ul><ul><li>NVivo by QSR International </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>NVivo2 + NU*DIST6 (or N6) = NVivo7 in 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Free 30-day trial (full size) </li></ul><ul><li>NVIVO 8 Education price $595 </li></ul><ul><li>NVivo 8 Student (12 month license) $240 </li></ul>
  9. 9. Other Packages <ul><li>Other packages </li></ul><ul><li>HyperResearch (for Mac, too) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>MAXqda </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Qualrus </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Transana </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  10. 10. Other Resources <ul><li>Qualitative Research for Human Sciences Listserve (QUALRS-L) from University of Georgia </li></ul><ul><li>Qualitative Research Page at University of Georgia http:// / </li></ul><ul><li>This is a diverse online community of qualitative researchers from around the world, both practitioners and academics. There are a number of very helpful and generous senior qualitative researchers on this list who frequently respond to questions from those who are new to qualitative research. Reading the archives is an interesting introduction to various debates and tools in the field. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Other Resources <ul><li>Qualitative and Multi-method Research Section of APSA </li></ul><ul><li>http:// </li></ul><ul><li>CAQDAS Networking Project </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Ann Lewins and Christina Silver. Using Software in Qualitative Research: A Step-by-Step Guide. Sage Publications, 2007. </li></ul>