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Multiple case study

23.12.2016, 21:28

I have three documents per case in a multiple case study
There are 10cases
What is the best way to set this up for analysis? Including comparison

Version: MAXQDA 12
System: Windows 10
Posts: 1
Joined: 23.12.2016, 02:38

Re: Multiple case study

30.12.2016, 17:04

Hi gmelles,

I would create 10 document groups, one for each case. In each document group I would place the three documents.
Lots of functions in MAXQDA allow to aggregate on a document group level so you will be able to compare the cases.

In addition to this you can use document variables for grouping the documents, if need to group cases or singular documents from a case together: create one or more document variables and assign appropiate data to each document: ... maxqda.htm
Later you can use the function "Activate by variable" function for example: ... rtheco.htm

Hope this helps! Best regards,
Dr Stefan Rädiker
Training, Coaching, Analysis for Research & Evaluation
Stefan Rädiker
Posts: 27
Joined: 12.02.2007, 10:18

Re: Multiple case study

03.05.2017, 15:34


I am adding to this thread as my research involves comparing 2 cases.

I have 23 interviews from the first case (domestic M&A) and 12 interviews from the second case (international M&A). The interviews represent 3 groups of people (acquirer, acquired firm, and neutral). Other than interview transcripts, there are press releases, annual reports, and notes. I am now coding the interviews from the smaller case. I plan to write a case summary of this, then code and analyze the bigger case.

I am worried about how complex things could get when it comes to coding, analyzing and writing the bigger case summary, and later when comparing the two cases. So far, I have 2 document groups (domestic M&A and international M&A) and 3 document sets (acquirer, acquired firm, and neutral). There may be more document groups and sets later, e.g., for acquisition experience, ethnicity.

I found this post from which I've learnt about document and code variables. However, I don’t see how to use them for my cases. What is the advantage of using document and code variables vs. document groups and sets? Is there a video or tutorial with some examples?

Thank you.
Posts: 1
Joined: 03.05.2017, 14:21

Re: Multiple case study

11.05.2017, 15:13

Hi dkwok,

I think the usage of document variables could indeed be very helpful to organize and also analyze your data more efficiently. In short, you can define many variables for your documents, and use the different variable types to store different information about those documents, like numbers (e.g. age of the participant or time employed) or text (e.g. location or ethnicity of the participant).

You can then activate documents and create sets by using the "Activate by document variable" feature, which is accessible in the "Document System"-window (second button from the left). So you can use it for a query like "please show me all the segments from interviews that were conducted with people where the variable value for city is "New York" and where the age variable has a value higher then 30".

This video tutorial will show you what I mean:

Or read more about it here: ... y-variable

I hope this helps! If not, or in case of any other questions, we're happy to help you out.

Kind regards,

Andreas V.

Re: Multiple case study

01.09.2020, 16:26

I've read the variables tutorial and was able to successfully import an Excel spreadsheet into my variable table. But I'm still not clear on how to set up my project. I have 70 participants. 65 participants have only one document associated with them. However, 5 participants have two documents associated. In the variables table, I have added all the data for those 70 participants, but there's an extra five rows (5 extra documents) that have no variable data. Do I duplicate the participant's info in each of those rows (for those 5 participants who have two documents) like this?

fileA-2019-07-13 John 31 reporter American
fileB-2020-08-21 John 31 reporter American

Is that the right way to handle this? If I do this, will MAXQDA know that these two documents are one case and analyze them accordingly?

Would it be better to create 70 documents groups? Or should I just combine the files (copy and paste the two documents into one document?)


Posts: 9
Joined: 08.08.2020, 04:24

Re: Multiple case study

28.09.2020, 13:48

I have this question as well, since I have multiple forms of data from my participants (e.g. focus group, 1:1 interview, and reflective diaries). I'm not sure how to handle this... is there a way to link these with variables?
Posts: 6
Joined: 17.02.2020, 12:58

Re: Multiple case study

30.09.2020, 13:31


You can use document variables as a means for structuring/organizing your data. For example, you create a new document variable "level of data sensitivity" and assign different levels of data sensitivity to your documents (interviews, focus groups, observations etc.) like "high/moderate/low". The goal is to group all documents with a certain sensitivity marker in one document set. So you select the function Mixed Methods > Activate Documents by Variables > select the variable "level of data sensitivity" and the value "high" and click "New Set". Back in the document system, a new document set is created with the documents with a high level of data sensitivity. This is just a simple example, and worth considering for a large set of data.

Otherwise, to link different types of data in the project, you might consider using the function "Internal links". For detailed info, please visit the online manual:

Best of luck!

Posts: 90
Joined: 19.07.2019, 09:48

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