100 blog articles on qualitative research!

images by Paul Downey and AngMoKio

 

Since our regular series of articles started nearly three years ago, we have clocked up 100 blog posts on a wide variety of topics in qualitative research and analysis! These are mainly short overviews, aimed at students, newcomers and those looking to refresh their practice. However, they are all referenced with links to full-text academic articles should you need more depth. Some articles also cover practical tips that don't get into the literature, like transcribing without getting back-ache, and hot to write handy semi-strucutred interview guides. These have become the most popular part of our website, and there's now more than 80,000 words in my blog posts, easily the length of a good sized PhD thesis!

 

That's quite a lot to digest, so in addition to the full archive of qualitative research articles, I've put together a 'best-of', with top 5 articles on some of the main topics. These include Epistemology, Qualitative methods, Practicalities of qualitative research, Coding qualitative data, Tips and tricks for using Quirkos, and Qualitative evaluations and market research. Bookmark and share this page, and use it as a reference whenever you get stuck with any aspect of your qualitative research.

 

While some of them are specific to Quirkos (the easiest tool for qualitative research) most of the principles are universal and will work whatever software you are using. But don't forget you can download a free trial of Quirkos at any time, and see for yourself!

 


Epistemology

What is a Qualitative approach?
A basic overview of what constitutes a qualitative research methodology, and the differences between quantitative methods and epistimologies

 

What actually is Grounded Theory? A brief introduction
An overview of applying a grounded theory approach to qualitative research

 

Thinking About Me: Reflexivity in science and qualitative research
How to integrate a continuing reflexive process in a qualitative research project

 

Participatory Qualitative Analysis
Quirkos is designed to facilitate participatory research, and this post explores some of the benefits of including respondents in the interpretation of qualitative data

 

Top-down or bottom-up qualitative coding
Deciding whether to analyse data with high-level theory-driven codes, or smaller descriptive topics (hint – it's probably both!)

 

 


Qualitative methods

An overview of qualitative methods
A brief summary of some of the commonly used approaches to collect qualitative data

 

Starting out in Qualitative Analysis
First things to consider when choosing an analytical strategy

 

10 tips for semi-structured qualitative interviewing
Semi-structured interviews are one of the most commonly adopted qualitative methods, this article provides some hints to make sure they go smoothly, and provide rich data

 

Finding, using and some cautions on secondary qualitative data
Social media analysis is an increasingly popular research tool, but as with all secondary data analysis, requires acknowledging some caveats

 

Participant diaries for qualitative research
Longitudinal and self-recorded data can be a real gold mine for qualitative analysis, find out how it can help your study

 


Practicalities of qualitative research

Transcription for qualitative interviews and focus-groups
Part of a whole series of blog articles on getting qualitative audio transcribed, or doing it yourself, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls

 

Designing a semi-structured interview guide for qualitative interviews
An interview guide can give the researcher confidence and the right level of consistency, but shouldn't be too long or too descriptive...

 

Recruitment for qualitative research
While finding people to take part in your qualitative study can seem daunting, there are many strategies to choose, and should be closely matched with the research objectives

 

Sampling considerations in qualitative research
How do you know if you have the right people in your study? Going beyond snowball sampling for qualitative research

 

Reaching saturation point in qualitative research
You'll frequently hear people talking about getting to data saturation, and this post explains what that means, and how to plan for it

 

 

Coding qualitative data

Developing and populating a qualitative coding framework in Quirkos
How to start out with an analytical coding framework for exploring, dissecting and building up your qualitative data

 

Play and Experimentation in Qualitative Analysis
I feel that great insight often comes from experimenting with qualitative data and trying new ways to examine it, and your analytical approach should allow for this

 

6 meta-categories for qualitative coding and analysis
Don't just think of descriptive codes, use qualitative software to log and keep track of the best quotes, surprises and other meta-categories

 

Turning qualitative coding on its head
Sometimes the most productive way forward is to try a completely new approach. This post outlines several strange but insightful ways to recategorise and examine your qualitative data

 

Merging and splitting themes in qualitative analysis
It's important to have an iterative coding process, and you will usually want to re-examine themes and decide whether they need to be more specific or vague

 

 


Quirkos tips and tricks

Using Quirkos for Systematic Reviews and Evidence Synthesis
Qualitative software makes a great tool for literature reviews, and this article outlines how to sep up a project to make useful reports and outputs

 

How to organise notes and memos in Quirkos
Keeping memos is an important tool during the analytical process, and Quirkos allows you to organise and code memo sources in the same way you work with other data

 

Bringing survey data and mixed-method research into Quirkos
Data from online survey platforms often contains both qualitative and quantitative components, which can be easily brought into Quirkos with a quick tool

 

Levels: 3-dimensional node and topic grouping in Quirkos
When clustering themes isn't comprehensive enough, levels allows you to create grouped categories of themes that go across multiple clustered bubbles

 

10 reasons to try qualitative analysis with Quirkos
Some short tips to make the most of Quirkos, and get going quickly with your qualitative analysis

 

 

Qualitative market research and evaluations

Delivering qualitative market insights with Quirkos
A case study from an LA based market research firm on how Quirkos allowed whole teams to get involved in data interpretation for their client

 

Paper vs. computer assisted qualitative analysis
Many smaller market research firms still do most of their qualitative analysis on paper, but there are huge advantages to agencies and clients to adopt a computer-assisted approach

 

The importance of keeping open-ended qualitative responses in surveys
While many survey designers attempt to reduce costs by removing qualitative answers, these can be a vital source of context and satisfaction for users

 

Qualitative evaluations: methods, data and analysis
Evaluating programmes can take many approaches, but it's important to make sure qualitative depth is one of the methods adopted

 

Evaluating feedback
Feedback on events, satisfaction and engagement is a vital source of knowledge for improvement, and Quirkos lets you quickly segment this to identify trends and problems

 

 

 

Top 10 qualitative research blog posts

top 10 qualitative blog articles

We've now got more than 70 posts on the official Quirkos blog, on lots of different aspects of qualitative research and using Quirkos in different fields. But it's now getting a bit difficult to navigate, so I wanted to do a quick recap with the 10 most popular articles, based on the number of hits over the last two years.

 

Tools for critical appraisal of qualitative research

A review of tools that can be used to assess the quality of qualitative research.

 

Transcription for qualitative research

The first on a series of posts about transcribing qualitative research, breaking open the process and costs.

 

10 tips for recording good qualitative audio

Some tips for recording interviews and focus-groups for good quality transcription

 

10 tips for semi-structured qualitative interviewing

Some advice to help researchers conduct good interviews, and what to plan for in advance

 

Sampling issues in qualitative research

Issues to consider when sampling, and later recruiting participants in qualitative studies

 

Developing an interview guide for semi-structured interviews

The importance of having a guide to facilitate in-depth qualitative interviews

 

Transcribing your own qualitative data

Last on the transcription trifecta, tips for making transcription a bit easier if you have to do it yourself

 

Participant diaries for qualitative research

Some different approaches to self-report and experience sampling in qualitative research

 

Recruitment for qualitative research

Factors to consider when trying to get participants for qualitative research

 

Engaging qualitative research with a quantitative audience

The importance of packaging and presenting qualitative research in ways that can be understood by quantitative-focused policy makers and journal editors

 

There are a lot more themes to explore in the blog post, including posts on how to use CAQDAS software, and doing your qualitative analysis in Quirkos, the most colourful and intuitive way to explore your qualitative research.

 

 

6 meta-categories for qualitative coding and analysis

rating for qualitative codes

When doing analysis and coding in a qualitative research project, it is easy to become completely focused on the thematic framework, and deciding what a section of text is about. However, qualitative analysis software is a useful tool for organising more than just the topics in the text, they can also be used for deeper contextual and meta-level analysis of the coding and data.


Because you can pretty much record and categorise anything you can think of, and assign multiple codes to one section of text, it often helps to have codes about the analysis that help with managing quotes later, and assisting in deeper conceptual issues. So some coders use some sort of ranking system so they can find the best quotes quickly. Or you can have a category for quotes that challenge your research questions, or seem to contradict other sources or findings. Here are 6 suggestions for these meta-level codes you could create in your qualitative project (be it Quirkos, Nvivo, Atlas-ti or anything!):

 

 

Rating
I always have a node I call ‘Key Quotes’ where I keep track of the best verbatim snippets from the text or interview. It’s for the excited feeling you get when someone you interviewed sums up a problem or your research question in exactly the right way, and you know that you are going to end up using that quote in an article. Or even for the title of the article!


However, another way you can manage quotes is to give them a ranking scheme. This was suggested to me by a PhD student at Edinburgh, who gives quotes a ranking from 1-5, with each ‘star-rating’ as a separate code. That way, it’s easy to cross reference, and find all the best quotes on a particular topic. If there aren’t any 5* quotes, you can work down to look at the 4 star, or 3 star quotes. It’s a quick way to find the ‘best’ content, or show who is saying the best stuff. Obviously, you can do this with as little or much detail as you like, ranking from 1-10 or just having ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ quotes.


Now, this might sound like a laborious process, effectively adding another layer of coding. However, once you are in the habit, it really takes very little extra time and can make writing up a lot quicker (especially with large projects). By using the keyboard shortcuts in Quirkos, it will only take a second more. Just assign the keyboard numbers 1-5 to the appropriate ranking code, and because Quirkos keeps the highlighted section of text active after coding, you can quickly add to multiple categories. Drag and drop onto your themes, and hit a number on the keyboard to rank it. Done!

 

 

Contradictions
It is sometimes useful to record in one place the contradictions in the project – this might be within the source, where one person contradicts themselves, or if a statement contradicts something said by another respondent. You could even have a separate code for each type of contradiction. Keeping track of these can not only help you see difficult sections of data you might want to review again, but also show when people are being unsure or even deceptive in their answers on a difficult subject. The overlap view in Quirkos could quickly show you what topics people were contradicting themselves about – maybe a particular event, or difficult subject, and the query views can show you if particular people were contradicting themselves more than others.

 

 

Ambiguities
In qualitative interview data where people are talking in an informal way about their stories and lives, people often say things where the meaning isn’t clear – especially to an external party. By collating ambiguous statements, the researcher has the ability to go back at the end of the source and see if each meaning is any clearer, or just flag quotes that might be useful, but might be at risk of being misinterpreted by the coder.

 

 

Not-sures
Slightly different from ambiguities: these are occasions when the meaning is clear enough, but the coder is not 100% sure that it belongs in a particular category. This often happens during a grounded theory process where one category might be too vague and needs to be split into multiple codes, or when a code could be about two different things.


Having a not-sure category can really help the speed of the coding process. Rather than worrying about how to define a section of text, and then having sleepless nights about the accuracy of your coding, tag it as ‘Not sure’ and come back to it at the end. You might have a better idea where they all belong after you have coded some more sources, and you’ll have a record of which topics are unclear. If you are not sure about a large number of quotes assigned to the ‘feelings’ Quirk (again, shown by clustering in the overlap view in Quirkos), you might want to consider breaking them out into an ‘emotions’ and ‘opinions’ category later!

 

 

Challenges
I know how tempting it can be to go through qualitative analysis as if it were a tick-box exercise, trying to find quotes that back up the research hypothesis. We’ve talked about reflexivity before in this blog, but it is easy to go through large amounts of data and pick out the bits that fit what you believe or are looking for. I think that a good defence against this tendency is to specifically look for quotes that challenge you, your assumptions or the research questions. Having a Quirk or node that logs all of these challenges lets you make sure you are catching them (and not glossing over them) and secondly provides a way to do a validity assessment at the end of coding: Do these quotes suggest your hypothesis is wrong? Can you find a reason that these quotes or individuals don’t fit your theory? Usually these are the most revealing parts of qualitative research.

 


Absences
Actually, I don’t know a neat way to capture the essence of something that isn’t in the data, but I think it’s an important consideration in the analysis process. With sensitive topics, it is sometimes clear to the researcher that an important issue is being actively avoided, especially if an answer seems to evade the question. These can be at least coded as absences at the interviewer’s question. However, if people are not discussing something that was expected as part of the research question, or was an issue for some people but not others, it is important to record and acknowledge this. Absence of relevant themes is usually best recorded in memos for that source, rather than trying to code non-existent text!

 

 

These are just a few suggestions, if you have any other tips you’d like to share, do send them to daniel@quirkos.com or start a discussion in the forum. As always, good luck with your coding!

 

Blog Archive

 

Quirkos qualitative blog archive

 

This is an archive (up-to September 2017) of articles on qualitative analysis, data and software from our blog:

 

Word clouds and word frequency analysis in qualitative data
 
What’s this blog post about? Well, it’s visualised in the graphic above! In the latest update for Quirkos, we have added a new and much requested feature, word clouds! I'm sure you've used these pretty tools before, they show a random display of all the words in a source of text
 
Announcing Quirkos v1.5
 
We are happy to announce the immediate availability of Quirkos version 1.5! As always, this update is a free upgrade for everyone who has ever brought a licence of Quirkos, so download now and enjoy the new features and improvements
 
An introduction to Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
 
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) is an increasingly popular approach to qualitative inquiry and essentially an attempt to understand how participants experience and make meaning of their world
 
Against entomologies of coding
 
I was recently privileged to chair a session at ICQI 2017 entitled “The Archaeology of Coding”. It had a fantastic panel of speakers, including
 
Quirkos vs Nvivo: Differences and Similarities
 
I’m often asked ‘How does Quirkos compare to Nvivo?’. Nvivo is by far the largest player in the qualitative software field, and is the product most researchers are familiar with. So when looking at the alternatives like Quirkos
 
Teaching qualitative methods via social media
 
This blog now has nearly 120 posts about all different kinds of qualitative methods, and has grown to hosting thousands of visitors a month. There are lots of other great qualitative blogs around, including
 
Writing Qualitative research papers
 
We’ve actually talked about communicating qualitative research and data to the public before, but never covered writing journal articles based on qualitative research. This can often seem daunting
 
Does software lead to the homogenisation of qualitative research?
 
In the last couple of weeks there has been a really interesting discussion on the Qualrs-L UGA e-mail discussion group about the use of software in qualitative analysis. Part of this was the question of whether qualitative software leads to the ‘homoginisation’ of qualitative research and analysis.
 
Quirkos 1.4.1 is now available for Linux
 
A little later than our Windows and Mac version, we are happy to announce that we have just released Quirkos 1.4.1 for Linux. There are some major changes to the way we release and package our Linux version, so we want to provide some technical details of these, and installation instructions.
 
Quirkos version 1.4.1 is here
 
Since Quirkos version 1.4 came out last year, we have been gathering feedback from dozens of users who have given us suggestions, or reported problems and bugs. This month we are releasing a small update
 
Making the leap from qualitative coding to analysis
 
So you spend weeks or months coding all your qualitative data. Maybe you even did it multiple times, using different frameworks and research paradigms. You've followed our introduction guides and everything is neatly
 
Comparing qualitative software with spreadsheet and word processor software
 
An article was recently posted on the excellent Digital Tools for Qualitative Research blog on how you can use standard spreadsheet software like Excel to do qualitative analysis. There are many other articles describing this kind of approach, for example Susan Eliot or Meyer and Avery (2008). However, it’s also possible to use word processing software
 
Making the most of bad qualitative data
 
A cardinal rule of most research projects is things don’t always go to plan. Qualitative data collection is no difference, and the variability in approaches and respondents means that there is always the potential for things to go awry.
 
Practice Projects and learning Qualitative Data Analysis Software
 
Coding and analysing qualitative data is not only a time consuming, it’s a difficult interpretive exercise which, like learning a musical instrument, gets much better with practice. However, lots of students starting their first major qualitative or mixed method research project will benefit from completing a smaller project first
 
Looking back and looking forward at qualitative analysis in 2017
 
In the month named for Janus, it’s a good time to look back at the last year for Quirkos and qualitative analysis software and look forward to new developments for 2017.
 
How Quirkos can change the way you look at your qualitative data
 
We always get a lot of inquiries in December from departments and projects who are thinking of spending some left-over money at the end of the financial year on a few Quirkos licences
 
Snapshot data and longitudinal qualitative studies
 
In the last blog post, we looked at creating archives of qualitative data that can be used by other researchers (or yourself in the future) for secondary analysis. In that article I postulated that secondary data analysis
 
Archiving qualitative data: will secondary analysis become the norm?
 
Last month, Quirkos was invited to a one day workshop in New York on archiving qualitative data. The event was hosted by Syracuse University
 
Stepping back from qualitative software and reading coded qualitative data
 
There is a lot of concern that qualitative analysis software distances people from their data. Some say that it encourages reductive behaviour, prevents deep reading of the data, and leads to a very quantified type of qualitative analysis
 
Problems with quantitative polling, and answers from qualitative data
 
The results of the US elections this week show a surprising trend: modern quantitative polling keeps failing to predict the outcome of major elections. In the UK this is nothing new,
 
Tips for running effective focus groups
 
In the last blog article I looked at some of the justifications for choosing focus groups as a method in qualitative research. This week, we will focus on some practical tips to make sure that focus groups run smoothly,
 
Considering and planning for qualitative focus groups
 
This is the first in a two-part series on focus groups. This week, we are looking at some of the why you might consider using them in a research project
 
Circles and feedback loops in qualitative research
 
The best qualitative research forms an iterative loop, examining, and then re-examining. There are multiple reads of data, multiple layers of coding, and hopefully, constantly improving theory and insight into the underlying lived world.
 
Triangulation in qualitative research
 
Most qualitative research will be designed to integrate insights from a variety of data sources, methods and interpretations to build a deep picture. Triangulation is the term used to describe this comparison and meshing of different data
 
100 blog articles on qualitative research!
 
Since our regular series of articles started nearly three years ago, we have clocked up 100 blog posts on a wide variety of topics in qualitative research and analysis! These are mainly short overviews...
 
Thinking About Me: Reflexivity in science and qualitative research
 
Reflexivity is a process (and it should be a continuing process) of reflecting on how the researcher could be influencing a research project. In a traditional positivist research paradigm,
 
The importance of keeping open-ended qualitative responses in surveys
 
I once had a very interesting conversation at a MRS event with a market researcher from a major media company. He told me that they were increasingly ‘costing-out’ the qualitative open-ended questions from customer surveys
 
Analytical memos and notes in qualitative data analysis and coding
 
There is a lot more to qualitative coding than just deciding which sections of text belong in which theme. It is a continuing, iterative and often subjective process, which can take weeks or even months. During this time,
 
Starting a qualitative research thesis, and choosing a CAQDAS package
 
For those about to embark on a qualitative Masters or PhD thesis, we salute you! More and more post-graduate students are using qualitative methods in their research projects, or
 
Reflections on qualitative software from KWALON 2016
 
Last week saw a wonderful conference held by the the Dutch network for qualitative research KWALON, based at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam. The theme was no less than the future of Qualitative
 
Include qualitative analysis software in your qualitative courses this year
 
A new term is just beginning, so many lecturers, professors and TAs are looking at their teaching schedule for the next year. Some will be creating new courses, or revising existing modules,
 
Qualitative coding with the head and the heart
 
In the analysis of qualitative data, it can be easy to fall in the habit of creating either very descriptive, or very general theoretical codes. It's often a good idea to take a step
 
10 tips for sharing and communicating qualitative research
 
Writing up and publishing research based on qualitative or mixed methods data is one thing, but most researchers will want to go beyond this, and engage with the wider public and decision makers.
 
Making qualitative analysis software accessible
 
Studies and surveys seem to show that the amount of qualitative research is growing, and that more and more people are using software to help with their qualitative analysis (Woods et al. 2015).
 
Reaching saturation point in qualitative research
 
A common question from newcomers to qualitative research is, what's the right sample size How many people do I need to have in my project to get a good answer for my research
 
Tips for managing mixed method and participant data in Quirkos and CAQDAS software
 
Even if you are working with pure qualitative data, like interview transcripts, focus groups, diaries, research diaries or ethnography, you will probably also have some categorical data about
 
What actually is Grounded Theory A brief introduction
 
“It's where you make up as you go along!” For a lot of students, Grounded Theory is used to describe a qualitative analytical method, where you create a coding
 
Merging and splitting themes in qualitative analysis
 
To merge or to split qualitative codes, that is the question... One of the most asked questions when designing a qualitative coding structure is “How many codes should I
 
Using qualitative analysis software to teach critical thought
 
It's a key part of the curriculum for British secondary school and American high school education to teach critical thought and analysis. It's a vital life skill: the ability to
 
In vivo coding and revealing life from the text
 
Following on from the last blog post on creating weird and wonderful categories to code your qualitative data, I want to talk about an often overlooked way of creating coding topics – using
 
Turning qualitative coding on its head
 
For the first time in ages I attended a workshop on qualitative methods, run by the wonderful Johnny Saldana. Developing software has become a full time (and then some) occupation for me,
 
7 things we learned from ICQI 2016
 
I was lucky enough to attend the ICQI 2016 conference last week in Champaign at the University of Illinois. We managed to speak to a lot of people about using Quirkos, but there were hundreds
 
Workshop exercises for participatory qualitative analysis
 
I am really interested in engaging research participants in the research process. While there is an increasing expectation to get “lay' researchers to set research questions, sit on
 
Quirkos version 1.4 is here!
 
It's been a long time coming, but the latest version of Quirkos is now available, and as always it's a free update for everyone, released simultaneously on Mac, Windows and Linux with
 
Top 10 qualitative research blog posts
 
We've now got more than 70 posts on the official Quirkos blog, on lots of different aspects of qualitative research and using Quirkos in different fields. But it's now getting a bit
 
Participant diaries for qualitative research
 
I've written a little about this before, but I really love participant diaries! In qualitative research, you are often trying to understand the lives, experiences and motivations of
 
Sharing qualitative research data from Quirkos
 
Once you've coded, explored and analysed your qualitative data, it's time to share it with the world. For students, the first step will be supervisors, for researchers it might be peers
 
Tools for critical appraisal of qualitative research
 
I've mentioned before how the general public are very quantitatively literate: we are used to dealing with news containing graphs, percentages, growth rates, and big numbers, and they are common
 
Finding, using and some cautions on secondary qualitative data
 
Many researchers instinctively plan to collect and create new data when starting a research project. However, this is not always needed, and even if you end up having to collect your own
 
Developing and populating a qualitative coding framework in Quirkos
 
In previous blog articles I've looked at some of the methodological considerations in developing a coding framework. This article looks at top-down or bottom-up approaches, whether you
 
Transcribing your own qualitative data
 
In a previous blog article I talked about some of the practicalities and costs involved in using a professional transcribing service to turn your beautifully recorded qualitative interviews and
 
Sampling considerations in qualitative research
 
Two weeks ago I talked about the importance of developing a recruitment strategy when designing a research project. This week we will do a brief overview of sampling for qualitative research,
 
Qualitative evidence for SANDS Lothians
 
Charities and third sector organisations are often sitting on lots of very useful qualitative evidence, and I have already written a short blot post article on some common sources of data that can
 
Recruitment for qualitative research
 
You'll find a lot of information and debate about sampling issues in qualitative research: discussions over “random' or “purposeful' sampling, the merits and
 
Designing a semi-structured interview guide for qualitative interviews
 
Interviews are a frequently used research method in qualitative studies. You will see dozens of papers that state something like We conducted n in-depth semi-structured interviews with
 
An early spring update on Quirkos for 2016
 
About this time last year, I posted an update on Quirkos development for the next year. Even though February continues to be cold and largely snow-drop free in Scotland, why not make it a
 
Recording good audio for qualitative interviews and focus groups
 
Last week's blog post looked at the transcription process, and what's involved in getting qualitative interview or focus-group data transcribed. This week, we are going to step
 
Transcription for qualitative interviews and focus-groups
 
Audio and video give you a level of depth into your data that can't be conveyed by words alone, letting you hear hesitations, sarcasm, and nuances in delivery that can change your
 
Building queries to explore qualitative data
 
So, you've spent days, weeks, or even months coding your qualitative data. Now what Hopefully, just the process of being forced to read through the data, and thinking about the
 
Delivering qualitative market insights with Quirkos
 
To build a well-designed, well-thought-out, and ultimately useful product, today's technology companies must gain a deep understanding of the working mentality of people who will use
 
Using properties to describe your qualitative data sources
 
In Quirkos, the qualitative data you bring into the project is grouped as 'sources'. Each source might be something like an interview transcript, a news article, your own notes and memos, or
 
Starting out in Qualitative Analysis
 
When people are doing their first qualitative analysis project using software, it's difficult to know where to begin. I get a lot of e-mails from people who want some advice in planning
 
Qualitative evidence for evaluations and impact assessments
 
For the last few months we have been working with SANDS Lothians, a local charity offering help and support for families who have lost a baby in miscarriage, stillbirth or soon after birth. They
 
What's in your ideal qualitative analysis software
 
We will soon start work on the next update for Quirkos. We have a number of features people have already requested which we plan to add to the next version, including file merge, memos, and a
 
Teaching qualitative analysis software with Quirkos
 
When people first see Quirkos, we often hear them say My students would love this! The easy learning curve, the visual feedback and the ability to work on Windows or Mac appeal
 
Quirkos is in Toronto!
 
This week's Quirkos blog comes live from the IIQM Qualitative Health Research 2015 conference, in lovely Toronto. It's been fun talking to people who are coming to the city for the first
 
Tips and advice from one year of Quirkos
 
This week marks the one-year anniversary of Quirkos being released to the market! On 6th October 2014, a group of qualitative researchers, academics and business mentors met in a bar in
 
Play and Experimentation in Qualitative Analysis
 
In the last blog post article, I talked about the benefits of visualising qualitative data, not just in the communication and dissemination stage, but also during data analysis. For newcomers to the
 
Freeing qualitative analysis from spreadsheet interfaces
 
The old mantra is that a picture tells a thousand words. You've probably seen Hans Rosling's talks on visualising quantitative data, or maybe even read some of Edward Tufte's books
 
10 reasons to try qualitative analysis with Quirkos
 
Quirkos is the newest qualitative research software product on the market, but what makes it different, and worth giving the one-month free trial a go Here's a guide to the top 10 benefits to
 
Fracturing and choice in qualitative analysis software
 
Fundamental to the belief behind starting Quirkos was a feeling that qualitative research has great value to society, but should be made accessible to more people. One of the problems that we
 
Levels: 3-dimensional node and topic grouping in Quirkos
 
One of the biggest features enabled in the latest release of Quirkos are 'levels', a new way to group and sort your Quirks thematically. While this was always an option in previous
 
Quirkos for Linux!
 
We are excited to announce official Quirkos support for Linux! This is something we have been working on for some time, and have been really encouraged by user demand to support this Free and
 
Quirkos 1.3 is released!
 
We are proud to announce a significant update for Quirkos, that adds significant new features, improves performance, and provides a fresh new look. Major changes include: PDF import Greater
 
Bing Pulse and data collection for market research
 
Judging by the buzz and article sharing going on last week, there was a lot of interest and worry about Microsoft launching their own market research platform. Branded as part of
 
What can CAQDAS do for you The Five-Level QDA
 
I briefly mentioned in my last blog post an interesting new article by Silver and Woolf (2015) on teaching QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis) and CAQDAS (Computer Assisted Qualitative Data
 
The CAQDAS jigsaw: integrating with workflows
 
I'm increasingly seeing qualitative research software as being the middle piece of a jigsaw puzzle that has three stages: collection, coding/exploring, and communication. These steps
 
Using Quirkos for fun and (extremely nerdy) projects
 
This week, something completely different! A guest blog from our own Kristin Schroeder! Most of our blog is a serious and (hopefully) useful exploration of current topics in qualitative
 
Participatory Qualitative Analysis
 
Engaging participants in the research process can be a valuable and insightful endeavour, leading to researchers addressing the right issues, and asking the right questions. Many funding
 
Engaging qualitative research with a quantitative audience.
 
The last two blog post articles were based on a talk I was invited to give at “Mind the Gap', a conference organised by MDH RSA at the University of Sheffield. You can find the
 
Our hyper-connected qualitative world
 
We live in a world of deep qualitative data. It's often proposed that we are very quantitatively literate. We are exposed to numbers and statistics frequently in news reports, at
 
Structuring unstructured data
 
The terms “unstructured data' and “qualitative data' are often used interchangeably, but unstructured data is becoming more commonly associated with data mining and
 
Quirkos workshops in Sheffield
 
On the 23rd and 24th of June, we are running a series of workshops in Sheffield: both at the University of Sheffield, and Sheffield Hallam University. The events are open to students,
 
How to set up a free online mixed methods survey
 
It's quick and easy to set up an on-line survey to collect feedback or research data in a digital format that means you can quickly get straight to analysing the data. Unfortunately, most
 
Bringing survey data and mixed-method research into Quirkos
 
Later today we are releasing a small update for Quirkos, which adds an important feature users have been requesting: the ability to quickly bring in quantitative and qualitative data from any
 
Qualitative evaluations: methods, data and analysis
 
Evaluating programmes and projects are an essential part of the feedback loop that should lead to better services. In fact, programmes should be designed with evaluations in mind, to make sure that
 
Qualitative research on the Scottish Referendum using Quirkos
 
We've now put up the summary report for our qualitative research project on the Scottish Referendum, which we analysed using Quirkos. You can download the PDF of the 10 page report from
 
Why the shift from Labour to the SNP in the 2015 Election in Scotland
 
If the polls are to be believed, Labour are going to loose a lot of Scottish seats in Westminster to the SNP next month. This wave of support seems to come largely out of the referendum last year on
 
6 meta-categories for qualitative coding and analysis
 
When doing analysis and coding in a qualitative research project, it is easy to become completely focused on the thematic framework, and deciding what a section of text is about. However,
 
Free materials for qualitative workshops
 
We are running more and more workshops helping people learn qualitative analysis and Quirkos. I always feel that the best way to learn is by doing, and the best way to remember is through
 
Qualitative data in the UK Public Sector
 
The last research project I worked on with the NIHR was a close collaboration between several universities, local authorities and NHS trusts. We were looking at evidence use by managers in
 
Upgrade from paper with Quirkos
 
Having been round many market research firms in the last few months, the most striking things is the piles of paper, or at least in the neater offices - shelves of paper! When we talk to small
 
Quirkos v1.1 is here!
 
We are excited to announce that the first update for Quirkos can now be downloaded from here! Version 1.1 adds two main new features: batch import, and mutli-language reports. If you
 
Spring software update for Quirkos
 
Even in Edinburgh it's finally beginning to get warmer, and we are planning the first update for Quirkos. This will be a minor release, but will add several features that users have been
 
How to organise notes and memos in Quirkos
 
Many people have asked how they can integrate notes or memos into their project in Quirkos. At the moment, there isn't a dedicated memo feature in the current version of Quirkos (v1.0),
 
The dangers of data mining for text
 
There is an interesting new article out, which looks at some of the commonly used algorithms in data mining, and finds that they are generally not very accurate, or even
 
Help us welcome Kristin to Quirkos!
 
So far, Quirkos users have mostly been based in the academic and university based research areas: perhaps not surprising considering where the project grew from. However, from very early on we got a
 
New Leith offices for Quirkos
 
Just in time for the new year, Quirkos is growing! We now need a bigger office to accomodate new hires, so we've moved to the 'Shore' at Leith, the seafront of Edinburgh.
 
Don't share reports with clients, share your data!
 
When it comes to presenting findings and insight with colleagues and clients, the procedure is usually the same. Create a written summary report, deliver the Powerpoint presentation, field any
 
Quirkos launch workshop
 
This week we had our official launch event for Quirkos, a workshop at the Institute of Education in London, but hosted by the University of Surrey CAQDAS network. It was a great event, with tea and
 
Is qualitative data analysis fracturing
 
Having been to several international conferences on qualitative research recently, there has been a lot of discussion about the future of qualitative research, and the changes happening in the
 
First Quirkos qualitative on-line workshop - 25th Nov 2014
 
Places are filling up now for our London launch and workshop on the 9th of December, but you can still come along for a free lunch by booking at this link. However, we will soon be running
 
QHR2014 and Victoria, BC
 
It's been a busy month, starting with our public launch, and including our first international conference, Qualitative Health Research 2014, hosted by the International Institute for Qualitative
 
Quirkos is launched!
 
It's finally here! From today, anyone can download the full 1.0 release version of Quirkos for Windows or Mac OS X! Versions for Linux and Android will be appearing later in the month, but since
 
Announcing Pricing for Quirkos
 
At the moment, (touch wood!) everything is in place for a launch next week, which is a really exciting place to be after many years of effort. From that day, anyone can download Quirkos, try it free
 
Quirkos is just weeks away!
 
It's been a long time since I've had time to write a blog article, as there are so many things to put in place before Quirkos launches in the next few weeks. But one-by-one everything is
 
Knowing your customers
 
As consumers, it feels like we are bombarded more than ever with opportunities for providing feedback on products and services. While shopping on-line, or even when browsing BBC News we are asked to
 
Using Quirkos for Systematic Reviews and Evidence Synthesis
 
Most of the examples the blog has covered so far have been about using Quirkos for research, especially with interview and participant text sources. However, Quirkos can take any text source you can
 
Getting a foot in the door with qualitative research
 
A quick look at the British Library thesis catalogue suggests that around 800 theses are completed every year in the UK using qualitative methods*. This suggests that 7% of the roughly 10,000 annual
 
Paper vs. computer assisted qualitative analysis
 
I recently read a great paper by Rettie et al. (2008) which, although based on a small sample size, found that only 9% of UK market research organisations doing qualitative research were using
 
Analysing text using qualitative software
 
I'm really happy to see that the talks from the University of Surrey CAQDAS 2014 are now up online (that's 'Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software' to you and me). It
 
Quirkos Beta Update!
 
We are busy at Quirkos HQ putting the finishing touches on the Beta version of Quirkos. The Alpha was relased 5 months ago, and during that time we've collected feedback from people who've
 
Evaluating feedback
 
We all know the score: you attend a conference, business event, or training workshop, and at the end of the day you get a little form asking you to evaluate your experience. You can rate the
 
Touching Text
 
Presenting Quirkos at the CAQDAS 2014 conference this month was the first major public demonstration of Quirkos, and what we are trying to do. It's fair to say it made quite a splash! But
 
Top-down or bottom-up qualitative coding
 
In framework analysis, sometimes described as a top-down or 'a-priori' approach, the researcher decides on the topics of interest they will look for before they start the analysis, usually
 
Participatory analysis: closing the loop
 
In participatory research, we try to get away from the idea of researchers doing research on people, and move to a model where they are conducting research with people. The movement comes
 
True cross-platform support
 
Another key aim for Quirkos was to have proper multi-platform support. By that, I mean that it doesn't matter if you are using a desktop or laptop running Windows, a Mac, Linux, or a tablet,
 
10 tips for semi-structured qualitative interviewing
 
Many qualitative researchers spend a lot of time interviewing participants, so here are some quick tips to make interviews go as smooth as possible: before, during and after! 1. Let your
 
Quirkos is coming...
 
Quirkos is intended to be a big step forward for qualitative research. The central idea is to make text analysis so easy, that anyone can do it. That includes people who don't know what
 
An overview of qualitative methods
 
There are a lot of different ways to collect qualitative data, and this article just provides a brief summary of some of the main methods used in qualitative research. Each one is an art in its own
 
Why qualitative research
 
There are lies, damn lies, and statistics It's easy to knock statistics for being misleading, or even misused to support spurious findings. In fact, there seems to be a growing backlash at the
 
What is a Qualitative approach
 
The benefit of having tastier satsumas is difficult to quantify: to turn into a numerical, comparable value. This is essentially what qualitative work does: measure the unquantifiable quality of
 
A new Qualitative Research Blog
 
While hosted by Quirkos, the main aim for this blog is to promote the wider use of qualitative research in general. We will link to other blogs and articles (not just academic), have guest bloggers,