Orla Cronin Research

Social science research and strategic consultancy

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Qualitative data analysis & techology

Computer aided qualitative data analysis?  A conversation with a colleague today revealed that there is still resistance to technology in this field.  Arguing that computer assisted qualitative data analysis is detrimental to ‘meaning’ is a little like saying that a telephone is detrimental to a conversation. The content is what matters, regardless of the tools you use to mine it.  Computer aided qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS) doesn’t *have* to involve automation (though there are occasions where it can, and it’s helpful).  Rather, it helps you systematically analyse large corpora of data (text, video, photos) without giving you RSI in the process.  Taking some of the drudgery out of the analysis should enable you to pay even more attention to what your data actually “mean”, not to mention enabling you to track your logic systematically, thus helping you to justify your conclusions.   The CAQDAS networking project at the University of Surrey is a great resource for this topic, providing independent reviews and comparisons of different software packages, in addition to training courses and methodological working papers.  http://caqdas.soc.surrey.ac.uk/

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