CAQDAS is an acronym for computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software. There are diverse opinions among practitioners in the field about the utility of such specialized software for qualitative data management and analysis. The software, unlike statistical computation, does not actually analyze data for you at higher conceptual levels. Software packages serve as a repository for your data that enable you to code them, and they can perform such functions as calculate the number of times a particular word or phrase appears in the data corpus (a particularly useful function for content analysis), and can display selected facets after coding, such as possible interrelationships.
Certainly, basic software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and Access provide utilities that can store and, with some pre-formatting and strategic entry, organize qualitative data to enable the researcher’s analytic review. A few Internet addresses are listed below to explore these CAQDAS packages and obtain demonstration/trial software and tutorials. Several of these software companies have uploaded short films about their products and features on YouTube (search for the clips by product name). Also check the CAQDAS Networking Project website supported by the University of Surrey, which provides bibliographies, conference information, working papers, links, and additional resources at: http://caqdas.soc.surrey.ac.uk/.
- AQUAD: www.aquad.de/en
AQUAD is open-source freeware available in several languages (English, German, Spanish). The program can code texts, video, audio, and photographs. It includes Boolean search functions and touts its ability to conduct sequential analyses.
- ATLAS.ti: www.atlasti.com
ATLAS.ti is one of the major commercial CAQDAS programs internationally. It can code texts and media with unique accompanying analytic features such as Network Editor, Word Cruncher, and Object Crawler. ATLAS.ti is available in Windows and Mac versions, with mobile versions for the iPad and Android.
CAT is an acronym for Coding Analysis Toolkit, a free, open-source web program sponsored by the University Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh, and QDAP-UMass in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. CAT works with text-based data analyzed by single users or teams. CAT can merge with ATLAS.ti coding.
- Dedoose: www.dedoose.com
Dedoose is a web-based, commercial program for text and media analyses, especially for mixed methods studies. The software has been called “intuitive” by several of its users, and Dedoose can be used by teams for collaborative work. The website includes several tutorial videos, a user guide download, and an extensive FAQ page.
- DiscoverText: www.discovertext.com
DiscoverText is a cloud-based commercial program that touts itself as a “Swiss army knife” for analyzing text. In addition to user texts, the program can retrieve data from social media such as Twitter, WordPress, Facebook pages, and YouTube comments. A limited feature version of DiscoverText is available free of charge.
- HyperRESEARCH: www.researchware.com
HyperRESEARCH is a cross-platform, commercial data analysis program for texts and media. It includes multiple features for qualitative display and analysis such as code books and code maps. The company also handles the program HyperTRANSCRIBE.
- MAXQDA: www.maxqda.com
MAXQDA is an internationally renowned commercial program available in multiple languages for Mac and Windows, with an app for mobile devices. The software can be used with text and media data and includes unique features such as emoticodes, MAXMaps, tag clouds, and the Code Relations Browser.
- NVivo: www.qsrinternational.com
NVivo is an internationally renowned commercial program available in multiple languages for Mac and Windows. The software can be applied with text and media data for mixed methods studies, and provides an array of visual analytic representations. The company conducts multiple webinars and live workshops about its products, and offers transcription services.
- QDA Miner: www.provalisresearch.com
QDA Miner works with documents and still images for mixed methods studies. The software offers unique visual analytic tools for display such as geotagging, time-tagging, and heatmaps. Provalis Research provides other content analysis products such as ProSuite and WordStat that can accompany QDA Miner.
- Qualrus: www.qualrus.com
Qualrus is a commercial program that can be used with text and media data. It includes basic analytic functions for small-scale studies and features QTools for more advanced analytic work.
- Quirkos: www.quirkos.com
Quirkos, an elegant commercial program, focuses on text analysis. The software can import various types of text files (Word, PowerPoint, PDF, etc.) for coding. Codes are represented both by user-assigned color stripes and by concurrent visual graphics.
- Transana: www.transana.org
Transana, a cross-platform commercial program developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Education Research, is designed exclusively for the analysis of video, audio, transcribed, and still image data. The program can code, categorize, and store analytic memos as analysis progresses.
- V-Note: www.v-note.org
V-Note is a commercial video coding and analysis program in Mac and Windows formats with editing, looping, and other features to enable transcription and concurrent comments. V-Note is also available for iPad.
- Weft QDA: www.pressure.to/qda/
Weft QDA is a free, open-source program for the coding and basic analysis of text. It is an older program offered “as is” without customer support, but may serve for small-scale projects.
- WordStat: www.provalisresearch.com
WordStat is a commercial program designed for content analysis and text mining. The software features dictionary moderation and an integrated thesaurus among other capabilities. Provalis Research provides other analysis products such as Simstat and QDA Miner that can accompany WordStat.