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Tip of the month: How to cite MAXQDA

Researchers frequently ask us how they should cite MAXQDA so we have compiled some tips for your in-text citations, footnotes, endnotes, and references page:

Student Working with MAXQDA

Should I cite my software?

Citing the work of others is a central aspect of scientific research. A citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source for the purpose of acknowledging the work of others. How to cite always depends on the type of resource (e.g. a published book or paper, a lecture, a website, software, and so on) and the citation system you wish to use (e.g. APA, Chicago, MLA, Turabian, and so on). Citation systems differ in how the information is ordered (such as author, title, year and place of publishing) and by which punctation rules the use. If you are unsure which citation system to use, check out source’s website (academic journals usually have guidelines available) or ask your research supervisor. The important thing is that you are consistent.

Most citation guidelines clearly define what ‘specialized’ software is and therefore do not have clear examples as to how it should be cited. That said, it is better to mention the name of the software you used for gathering, organizing, and analyzing your data for the sake of clarity and transparency. If you are unsure about whether or not you should cite your research software, a good guideline is to ask yourself if the software made a significant contribution to your research.

How to cite MAXQDA

We recommend that you mention all the software you used for conducting the experiment and data analysis in the ‘Research Methods’ and/or ‘Analysis Methodologies’ section of your paper. It can be useful to include a short description of the software as well as a layout of your analysis steps so that the reader understands your approach. Our recommendation is to keep it concise, you do not need to explain the history of the software’s development, for example. In short, explain what you did and how you did it, but do not overwhelm your readers with too much information.

Generally, you reference software when it appears in the text for the first time, either by using superscript numbers and footnotes or by mentioning the publisher/the software’s name and the publishing year in brackets and a corresponding bibliographic reference. Which one you should use depends on your citation system.

Footnotes and Endnotes

Some style guidelines, such as the Chicago Manual of Style and the Oxford Style Manual, use consecutively numbered footnotes or endnotes alongside a corresponding bibliographic reference. When using a footnote or endnote to cite MAXQDA, insert a superscript number after the closest punctuation mark. If it is a dash (-), place the superscript number right before the dash, and place it at the bottom of the page/end of the paper where the citation appears. Begin with the superscript number and follow with the relevant information. Use the same information, order, and punctuation as you would in the reference list (see the table below for more precise information).

Going over the data that will be analyzed with MAXQDA

Bibliographic References

Some style guides discourage the use of footnotes, except when they are absolutely necessary. In this case, we recommend you use a bibliographic reference instead.

The following table provides examples of how to cite MAXQDA in popular citation systems.

Style GuideIn-text citationBibliographic Entry
APAWe used MAXQDA 2018 (VERBI Software, 2017) for data analysis.VERBI Software. (2017). MAXQDA 2018 [computer software]. Berlin, Germany: VERBI Software. Available from https://www.maxqda.com
Chicago/Turabian (note and bibliography style)1 VERBI Software, MAXQDA 2018, software, 2017, https://www.maxqda.com.VERBI Software. MAXQDA 2018. Software. 2017. https://www.maxqda.com.
MLA….MAXQDA 2018 (VERBI Software).VERBI Software. MAXQDA 2018. Berlin: VERBI Software, 2017.
Oxford1 MAXQDA 2018, [software], Berlin, VERBI Software, 2017, https://www.maxqda.com.MAXQDA 2018, [software], Berlin, VERBI Software, 2017, https://www.maxqda.com.
Harvard…MAXQDA 2018 (VERBI Software 2017)VERBI Software 2017, MAXQDA 2018, computer program, VERBI Software, Berlin.

How to cite information from the MAXQDA website

If you would like to include information from the MAXQDA website in your paper, from the MAXQDA Online Manual, for example, simply use the same approach you would use as if you were to cite any other website or online resource. We recommend using an in-text citation that includes the author and the publishing year with a corresponding bibliographical reference in the Literature/Reference section. You can use “VERBI” (short for VERBI Software. Consult. Sozialforschung GmbH) as the author. Note: there is no publisher.

The following table provides examples of in-text citations and bibliographical references in various citation systems in for the MAXQDA Online Manual.

Style GuideIn-text citationBibliographic Entry
APA…… (VERBI Software, 2017).VERBI Software. (2017). MAXQDA 2018 Online Manual. Retrieved from https://www.maxqda.com/help-max18/welcome
Chicago/Turabian (note and bibliography style)1 VERBI Software, “Online Manual” accessed month day, year. https://www.maxqda.com/help-max18/welcome.VERBI Software. “Online Manual.” Accessed month day, year. https://www.maxqda.com/help-max18/welcome.
MLA… MAXQDA (VERBI Software).VERBI Software. MAXQDA 2018 Online Manual. May 2018. www.maxqda.com/help-max18/welcome. Accessed day month, year.
Oxford1 VERBI Software, MAXQDA 2018 Online Manual, [website], date of creation, https://www.maxqda.com/help-max18/welcome, (accessed day month, year).VERBI Software, MAXQDA 2018 Online Manual, [website], date of creation, https://www.maxqda.com/help-max18/welcome, (accessed day month, year).
Harvard…MAXQDA 2018 (VERBI Software 2018).VERBI 2018, MAXQDA 2018 Online Manual, accessed day month year, <https://www.maxqda.com/help-max18/welcome>.

References for your MAXQDA Screenshots

If you would like to include screenshots of your work in MAXQDA, it can be useful to first describe what the image shows and then name the software in your image caption. This technique will help your readers understand what is shown and why it is important to your analysis. We recommend naming MAXQDA a) within the text (where the visualization is described) or b) within the screenshot captions. If you have cited MAXQDA in a previous part of the paper you don’t need to reference the name again directly.

a) Reference within the text MAXQDA Reference within the text
b) Reference within screenshot captions MAXQDA Reference within Screenshot Captions

Share Your Research – Join the MAXQDA Research Network

For examples of MAXQDA citations in real-world research projects, check out our ever-growing list of MAXQDA-supported research publications. If you have published MAXQDA-supported work and would like to be included in our list (web, newsletter, and print), let us know! We would be delighted to share your work with the MAXQDA community: research.network@maxqda.de

MAXQDA Research Network Logo

Another way to share your knowledge and learn from the MAXQDA community is to join the MAXQDA Research Network. This global community of researchers working in various disciplines, with a broad range of methodological approaches, receives exclusive information and free learning materials that include:

  • access to free teaching materials
  • networking with fellow researchers
  • exclusive information in the Research Network Newsletter

Click here for or more information about the MAXQDA Research Network and to register for the newsletter:

MAXQDA Research Network

About the Author

Jessica Gärtner