Creating 'Google Docs' for qualitative analysis

Creating 'Google Docs' for qualitative analysis

My main mantra when we were designing Quirkos Web was that it should be just like using Google Docs. That means it should be easy to create a document or project. It should just work in your browser without needing to install anything. That you should be able to access your work anywhere. That it should have all the features of full software (like Office). But most importantly, that it should make collaboration really simple and interactive - so that people can work on a project at the same time.

That last part was of course one of the things that makes Google Docs so great, when you are working on a document, a paper or spreadsheet, it's great to be able to share so easily - just allow sharing with someone, send the link and they can view, collaborate or just comment as you wish. And I really wanted to be able to work like this with qualitative analysis!

And for some projects, this is so important - when you want to code with other people, get feedback and suggestions, or teach by showing how things work in an example project. This last one is really important to me, and breaking the mystique of coding qualitative data - if you can show someone what coding looks like while it's done, it can give people the confidence to start qualitative analysis, or try different coding approaches.

And with Quirkos Web, that's now what we've got! A fully collaborative qualitative analysis platform, where Quirkos Cloud users can share projects with each other, work together and explore data without any limitations or extra costs.

Other qualitative data analysis software like NVivo and MAXQDA doesn't let you collaborate this easily - you need to check projects in and out, can't work on them at the same time, or you have to pay extra fees to be able to collaborate and share projects, which are limited in number (?!!). Dedoose used to allow this type of browser based collaboration, but as it is Flash based, no longer runs in the browser and needs to be installed. Atlas.ti recently released a browser based version, but it still lags the main version in features, and Taguette is a really promising open source qualitative analysis tool, but you need to install the server version in your institution to be able to collaborate.

But it also keeps all the main design features of the Desktop version of Quirkos (which is not going anywhere!), allowing you creative options to move, group, colour and re-arrange your codes as your themes and thinking develop. It also means that there is no need to update software when we add features - the version in your browser is always the most recent one. It also has a dedicated tablet and phone mode, so you can work on your projects (even coding and exploring data) in a dedicated touchscreen interface.

However, there was one thing we didn't want to copy from Google, and that's questionable data privacy. When working with confidential qualitative research, we wanted to also offer end-to-end encrytption, so that no-one except you has access to the data. We don't share the data with anyone, or use any other platforms to store the data and might take a peek. There's also no tracking or analytics data on our users (even on our website), we don't share data with Facebook, Google, Amazon or anyone else.

Anyone can try Quirkos Web and Quirkos Cloud (the subscription that powers it) for free for 14 days, and cancel at anytime. It's also probably the cheapest option for qualitative analysis software, with great student prices and extra discounts for researchers in 'developing' countries. So give it a try today, and get all the convenience and finess of Google Docs for your qualitative analysis.