In the context of scientific research, the evaluation of documents is often a collective, rather than individual endeavor. This raises the question how MAXQDA allows for teamwork.
This teamwork is possible in three principle forms, depending on how the team members want to work together.
- Handing over a complete MAXQDA project to another team member – Different people work with the same master version. They perform online searches, text retrievals, and other kinds of analysis with this master version. But, they do not perform code and memo procedures simultaneously on the master version. The MAXQDA project is therefore passed from team member to team member, each time for further processing.
- Exchanging coded segments, memos, summaries, etc. of a single document, document group or entire project among team members– A MAXQDA project with all the documents to be processed is duplicated for each team member. Each member works on a pre-arranged part of the project, for example only segments coded with selected codes, or only certain documents. At the end, the coded segments, memos, etc. are transferred from the respective projects into a master project.
- Merging MAXQDA projects – Members of the team edit the documents of a MAXQDA project in collaboration. For example, team member A codes as document 1 to 4 team member B codes documents 5 to 8, and team member C edits documents 8 to 12. Each member is working in a separate project that contains only the documents that he or she is responsible for. At the end, all three projects are merged.
MAXQDA also offers additional functions that are useful for teamwork:
- MAXQDA allows you to assign rights for individual users. For example, you can set it up such that others cannot make changes to text documents to ensure that everyone is always working with the same data body.
- Finally, there is a function that checks for intercoder matches. MAXQDA helps you to check and improve the quality of your coding work by comparing yours with other members in your team.
The sort of functionality that is currently available in MAXQDA does not blend with the logic of multi-user software. A typical example of a multi-user program is the kind used by airlines for flight bookings. Such programs only work when one user’s ability to change something requires that the other users be given read-only permissions. MAXQDA, though, is set up so that a user can write or change a memo, modify coded segments, etc. at any time. All of these functions would be limited – if not made impossible all together – with a multi-user system. For these reasons, one has to accept that simultaneous work by various team members on the same project file is not possible. MAXQDA does, though, make it easy to separate a project into various files, have team members work on them at the same time, and then later bring them together in one file.