What is Computer Assisted Data Analysis?
Today, researchers increasingly use computer assisted data analysis packages to assist them. The advantage of software is that it allows far more efficient and effective work processes: It saves you time and can help you to gain deeper insights into your data that you might have missed otherwise. Qualitative data analysis (QDA) software is used in many academic fields, such as sociology, psychology, political science, medicine, and educational science, and it is also a popular tool for businesses and market researchers.
Computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS), 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). Software tools for qualitative data 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 Analysis Software (QDA Software)
Qualitative data analysis (QDA) relies on various methods for systematizing, organizing, and analyzing non-numeric data, such as those used in Grounded Theory, qualitative content analysis, mixed methods analysis, group discussions, discourse analysis, case and field studies. Whatever approach a researcher chooses, the computer assisted data analysis package should support and facilitate the process of sorting, structuring, and analyzing data material.
In addition to the traditional use of textual data, there is a trend toward the inclusion and analysis of image files, audio and video materials, and social media data. Sophisticated computer assisted data analysis software allows for importing and transcribing these recordings directly in the program. In addition, QDA software, such as MAXQDA, supports the entire analytic process by visualizing relationships and providing overviews. It also permits the addition of notes (so-called memos), which help other researchers understand the various analytical steps. By using automatic processes to visualize data material, QDA software supports the researcher’s steps towards gaining critical insight.
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How does MAXQDA support your Qualitative Data Analysis?
The first version of the computer assisted data analysis software MAXQDA was developed as early as 1989, which makes it one of the pioneer software programs in the field of qualitative data analysis. By now, it supports you in every step of your research project – from collecting data in the field to publishing your findings, regardless of your analytical approach (Grounded Theory, qualitative content analysis, mixes methods analysis,…) or type of data (text, image, video, tweet, PDF file,…).
MAXQDA’s central elements are the systematic assignment (“coding”) of text segments to themes (“codes”) and the possibility of making notes of ideas and associations (“memos”). Since its first release, MAXQDA has used the established terminology of qualitative research, which has contributed to the software’s intuitive handling. Its personalized memo manager makes it also an ideal software tool for knowledge management. 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.
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.
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.
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.
In MAXQDA, data interpretation and evaluation can be done by sorting materials into groups, using a hierarchical coding system, defining variables, providing tabular overviews, and assigning colors and weights to text segments. Furthermore, every step of the process can be easily tracked, and results can be accessed with just a few clicks.
You can also create stunning visualizations that help you look at your data from completely new perspectives and to test your theories. These visualizations, as well as other elements of your project (result tables, overviews, your documents, …) can be exported for many programs, so that you can include them in your final report or publication. MAXQDA comes in different versions, allowing the users to choose the product that suits their needs best.