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Big moment for CAQDAS: QDA-XML exchange

Big moment for CAQDAS: QDA-XML exchange
By Christina Silver on Mar 18, 2019 at 05:15 PM in CAQDAS commentary

It's finally here - the ability to exchange analysed qualitative data between CAQDAS programs! Since September 2016 the developers of seven CAQDAS programs have been working together to develop an open source xml exchange standard.

Today the first version was released - a big moment in the history of CAQDAS and something that will change the way that researchers and teachers can work.

Find out more at qdasoftware.org and start exchanging CAQDAS projects !

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An ode to Kandy Woodfield’s CAQDAS contributions

An ode to Kandy Woodfield’s CAQDAS contributions
By Christina Silver on Mar 15, 2019 at 05:26 PM in CAQDAS commentary

I was shocked and deeply saddened to see a tweet from Kandy Woodfield’s account announcing her passing. As Rob stated, she was a very much loved wife, sister, auntie, sister-in-law, and cats’ mum. My thoughts and condolences are with them all, during these most difficult times. I knew Kandy in a professional context, and I very much liked her as a person – she was always kind, thoughtful, humourous, poignant and vivacious.

This post highlights just one part of Kandy’s professional life – her contribution to the field of Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS (CAQDAS). Together with her colleagues at The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) Kandy developed the FrameWork Software. This work had a big impact on the field of qualitative and mixed methods social/policy research practice. It also influenced my thinking about the role of CAQDAS packages, and the relationship between technology and methodology more broadly. I hope this post goes some way to honouring Kandy’s impact in these areas.

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Calling for a revolution – we have to get rid of codes

Calling for a revolution – we have to get rid of codes
By Nicholas Woolf on Jan 17, 2019 at 06:17 PM in CAQDAS commentary

Codes are the example par excellence for our constant banging on about strategies and tactics. Reminder: strategies are what you plan to do, and tactics are how you plan to do it. When using a CAQDAS program, the tactics are very different in nature from the analytic strategies. A strategy might be to compare the men and women respondents in a study by separately conceptualizing the male responses from the female responses. The tactic to fulfil it will depend on the CAQDAS package you use, but it will involve software tools that allow you to collect together selected items of data that have been tagged or grouped by you in the software so that you can compare them on screen or in printed form. Whatever the tools in your chosen software, they will have nothing to do with the subtleties of male and female characteristics or gender issues. Instead they will involve processing data in the software to accomplish your purpose. These are two extremely different ways of thinking, but because both are called ‘coding’ you unconsciously and unhelpfully think about them in the same way. For this reason we should stop using the term ‘code’ for the strategies level of our conceptualization work.

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Mindsets matter: think about how you think about CAQDAS programs

Mindsets matter: think about how you think about CAQDAS programs
By Christina Silver on Oct 31, 2018 at 02:06 PM in Five-Level QDA issues & ideas

On 17th October 2018 I had the privilege of opening the Digital Tools day at the World Conference on Qualitative Research (#WCQR2018) in Lisbon, Portugal. My talk was called “Mindsets for harnessing digital tools in qualitative and mixed-methods analysis: The Five-Level QDA method”. My main message was that we need to be more explicit about the way we think about the role of digital tools in the research process and our engagement with them.

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Can tactics inform strategies?

Can tactics inform strategies?
By Christina Silver on May 25, 2018 at 08:41 AM in Five-Level QDA in practice

Analytic strategies come before software tactics: that’s the Five-Level QDA approach. But there are times when software tactics can usefully inform analytic strategies. This leads to serendipitous exploration, and fits well with the emergent spirit of qualitative research.

When analytic strategies drive software tactics the use of the software is meaningful – focused on the needs of the research rather than the capabilities of the program. But many CAQDAS advocates say that new software features (tactics) do offer new analytic possibilities (strategies), and so the relationship goes both ways. I agree.

While I usually discuss the downsides of software tactics driving analytic strategies, here is an example from the workshop I led at the MQIC in Berlin earlier this year of tactics appropriately informing strategies.

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A CAQDAS horror story: when tactics drive strategies

A CAQDAS horror story: when tactics drive strategies
By Christina Silver on Mar 22, 2018 at 06:52 PM

A key principle of the 5LQDA method is that analytic strategies drive software tactics. This ensures that software use is always focused on the objectives of the study and is appropriate to the particular methodological context.

But what happens when software tactics drive analytic strategies? Here is the most extreme example I’ve observed. In my next post I’ll discuss when software tactics can usefully inform analytic strategies without actually driving the process.

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How many codes are needed in a qualitative analysis?

How many codes are needed in a qualitative analysis?
By Christina Silver on Feb 22, 2018 at 08:53 AM in CAQDAS commentary

There is no answer to this perennial question - not even any guidelines. You need as many codes as you need - in other words, however many are needed to capture what's going on in the data in relation to your analytic focus and research objectives. How many depends on what you're using the codes to represent, how you derive them, and how you intend to use them in the analysis. I've done substantial projects with as few as 22 codes, and others that required several hundred.

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My first thoughts on the Five-Level QDA textbooks

My first thoughts on the Five-Level QDA textbooks
By on Feb 06, 2018 at 07:29 AM in Five-Level QDA issues & ideas

Ann Lewins has been using and teaching CAQDAS packages since 1994 and she pioneered the development of institutional support for their use in the UK, helping to create the CAQDAS Networking Project. Here she shares her first thoughts on the Five-Level QDA textbooks.

Five-Level QDA is a new teaching and learning initiative that aims to fill a huge gap by addressing some of the major dilemmas facing especially new qualitative researchers

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Methods matter - illustrating quality in qualitative analysis and the role of CAQDAS

Methods matter - illustrating quality in qualitative analysis and the role of CAQDAS
By Christina Silver on Jan 06, 2018 at 11:28 AM in CAQDAS commentary

Professor Debra Jackson's post about the Journal of Child & Family Studies' intention to from now on only review and publish quantitative papers and the discussion it prompted on Twitter indicates how important it is for qualitative researchers to fully describe their methods and illustrate the quality of their analysis. Using dedicated CAQDAS packages to facilitate analysis won't necessarily result in higher quality outputs, but they can be used to illustrate process and rigour, and thereby have an important role to play.

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Coding is a process, not an event

Coding is a process, not an event
By Christina Silver on Nov 21, 2017 at 06:04 PM in CAQDAS commentary

What lies behind the red flag question: "I've done all my coding - now what?" In my last blogpost I considered the first likely culprit: starting to code before thinking through its purpose. But thinking about the purpose isn't enough. A second issue is the need to think about coding as an on-going process - not as a single event that gets "done" before moving on to the next event. Coding is the opportunity to repeatedly connect with our data.

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