What Is Qualitative Data Analysis Software?

qualitative data analysis software

Qualitative data analysis (QDA) relies on various methods for systematizing, organizing, and analyzing non-numeric data. Today, researchers increasingly make use of computer software for their qualitative data analysis (QDA). Qualitative data analysis software (QDA software) is used in many academic fields, such as sociology, psychology, political science, medicine, and educational sciences, and it is also a popular tool for businesses and market researchers.

QDA software, such as MAXQDA, serves to provide insights into qualitative data sets without suggesting interpretations. Based on a content analysis, the researcher can draw conclusions about the respective object of research (e.g. interview data). While qualitative data analysis software, in general, does not itself suggest or require a specific method of qualitative data analysis, it provides a broad choice of tools to facilitate a profound, systematic analysis of many types of media, regardless of the chosen method of analysis. Software tools for qualitative data and text analysis allow for easy sorting, structuring, and analyzing of large amounts of text or other data and facilitate the management of the resulting interpretations and evaluations.

Qualitative Data

In addition to the traditional use of textual data in the social sciences, there is a trend toward the inclusion and analysis of image files, audio and video materials, as well as of social media data (e.g. Tweets, YouTube comments, …). Therefore, state-of-the-art qualitative data analysis software MAXQDA has a high data capacity and can handle more file types than you think – text document, Excel table or PDF file, a picture, audio or video file, an SPSS or bibliographic record, even a tweet or YouTube comments.

The History of Qualitative Data Analysis Software

The first software programs allowing researchers to use a computer-based tool for their qualitative analysis was developed in the mid-1980s. Today, qualitative data analysis software is an established tool in the field of qualitative research.
MAXQDA is one of the pioneer software programs in this field: In 1989, MAXQDA (named “MAX” back then) was one of the first QDA software programs worldwide and the first one to be released in Germany. Since then, MAXQDA has become one of the world’s leading professional tools for qualitative data analysis.

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Qualitative Data Analysis Software MAXQDA

MAXQDA enables researchers to conduct research using many methods of analysis, such as those used in Grounded Theory, qualitative content analysis, group discussions, discourse analysis, and case and field studies. MAXQDA is also widely considered to be the #1 software for mixed methods research.
MAXQDA’s intuitive and easy-to-use 4-Window Interface is straightforward and gives you quick access to powerful – and often entirely unique – tools and functions.

Your Data

Import your data via drag & drop. Group, rename and color-tag it. Add memos. Strong filters and quick search tools ensure that your data is always easy to find.

Your Codes

Set up your categories in a hierarchical or non-hierarchical code system. Create codes inductively, deductively or semi-automatically using KWIC search results or by importing data from surveys or reports.

Document Browser

View, code, edit and annotate your documents. Mark passages with different colors, use emoticons, link sources to each other or to geo-locations, websites and external files.


Retrieve your data in just a few clicks. Choose between simple or highly advanced retrieval options. Jump from retrieved data back to the original source with one click. Powerful filter options will help you find exactly what you need. Print out or export your findings with one click.

The program’s central elements are the systematic assignment (“coding”) of data segments (text, tables, media, …) to major themes (“codes”) and the possibility to take notes of references, ideas, etc. directly in the text (“memos”).
In MAXQDA, analysis and evaluation can be done by sorting materials into groups, using a hierarchical coding system, defining variables, and assigning colors and weights to text segments. Easy access of analysis results and a variety of visual tools are further advantages of MAXQDA.

Further Links

Qualitative Data Analysis Software MAXQDA

MAXQDA Product Range

Learn more about the MAXQDA product range or compare features in our detailed overview

Qualitative Data Analysis Software MAXQDA

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