Using Software in Qualitative Research

A Step-by-Step Guide

A Welcome from the Authors

Welcome to the resources pages for Using Software in Qualitative Research, 2nd edition. The book is designed to help researchers get the most out of their use of software, whatever package they are using. The chapters provide an introduction to the principles of using CAQDAS packages and suggestions about procedures for using software in different analytic contexts.

The book will help you to choose the most appropriate package for your needs and get the most out of the software once you are using it. It considers a wide range of tasks and processes in managing and analysing data, showing how software can be used at different stages.

The book very much reflects the way that we think about and teach CAQDAS packages. These webpages supplement the book and our training courses, providing step-by-step instruction for the suggested exercises presented in the book and covered in training. If you need face-to-face training, check out the CAQDAS Networking Project website for scheduled events or contact us via QDA Services for tailored training and/or project-specific support or coaching.

The book presents three case studies with different forms of data (text, video and mixed data) showing how analytic activities process for each project could be supported by software. To find out more about each case-study and download sample data to experiment with click here. The step-by-step instructions for using software have in most cases been written in the context of one of the case study examples.

On this website you will find step-by-step instructions with contributions from software developers for the latest versions of the following packages: 






QDA Miner


Most of the materials provided here have been developed in collaboration with the developers of each software package. We are very grateful for their support and we thank them personally at the beginning of each set of resources.

We hope these pages are useful in helping you work out an efficient and effective way of using your chosen software to support your work.

Christina Silver & Ann Lewins

About the Authors

Ann Lewins was instrumental to establishing the reputation of the CAQDAS Networking Project as an authoritative source of impartial information about qualitative software. She managed the project from 1994 – 2010, during which time she developed critical expertise in the complex use of a range of software programs. Between 1994 and 2002 (when Christina Silver joined the project) Ann single-handedly organized and taught a series of intensive workshops, encouraged debate via seminars and an internet discussion list, and advised on good practice in a field of computer technology that is now seen as a prerequisite to effective qualitative research, the archiving of work and results.

Christina Silver has worked with Ann since 1998, formally becoming part of the CAQDAS Networking Project in 2002. She has contributed to the development of the awareness-raising and training portfolio of the project, and in 2010 she took over management of the project. She is particularly interested in visual analysis, the relationship between technology and methodology and methods of teaching and learning about CAQDAS in a methodological context. Christina was the lead researcher for the capacity-building outputs of the Qualitative Innovations in CAQDAS (QUIC) project, responsible for the design and implementation of online support materials. 

In 2002 Christina and Ann co-founded Qualitative Data Analysis Services (QDAS), a consortium providing research consultancy and training. Working with a range of academic, government and third sector clients across Europe, they provide bespoke doctoral training for several universities, consultancy services on a variety of research projects and conduct analysis with or for research teams. Much of their work involves supporting researchers to develop systematic and robust analytic strategies for use with qualitative software, and training teams to operate software tools to implement analysis efficiently.   

About the Book

Using Qualitative Software is the result of a collaboration that started in 1997 when Christina and Ann first met. Our work together since then has shaped how we think about, use and teach qualitative software and this book results from those experiences.

This website is the companion to the second edition of Using Qualitative Software, where you can find 

software-specific and step-by-step instruction. Some CAQDAS developers have been glad to contribute to the creation of these pages and we thank them for that – we name the contributors on the relevant pages. 

We have expanded the second edition of Using Qualitative Software to offer more methodological contextualisation, including more detailed attention for visual analysis and mixed methods approaches.  This is in response to increasing interest from outside academic social science disciplines and increasing requests for descriptions of how to do certain types of analysis using particular software packages. Both these trends speak to the breadth in potential for the use of CAQDAS packages, and the continued need for specific advice about how to use them. 

We aim to highlight excellence, in both the important routine tasks and also in special or unique functions. We felt there was a need to point to particular strengths of software for particular research needs – you can find out about these aspects from the book, where we provide suggestions in each chapter about phases and tasks of analysis and information concerning the general and special provision of tools in these contexts. 


We would like to thank the ever responsive software devel­opers and their support teams, without whom the companion website would not have been developed. Thomas Muhr, Susanne Friese and Scientific Software (ATLAS.ti), Eli Lieber and SCRC (Dedoose), Anne Dupuis and Researchware (HyperRESEARCH), Udo Kuckartz, Anne Kuckartz, Stefan Rädiker, Graham Hughes and Verbi (MAXQDA), Normand Peladeau and Provalis Research (QDA Miner), David Woods, Joseph Woods and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Education Research (Transana).