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Analyzing Qualitative Data
February 17, 2014
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, Quirkos is the same across them all. You can swap files between different operating systems without needing to convert them, and the interface is the same for everyone. Magic!
This seems like such a simple goal, but Quirkos will be the first qualitative analysis package to acheive this, and it's something that has not been good enough for far too long. It's been a real pain when team members have different computers, and people can't share their data and files.
While it's great that some of the big players are finally releasing Mac versions of their software, these have different interfaces to learn, have less features, and can't talk seamlessly with the Windows versions. Quirkos says: it shouldn't matter. You can pick up an Android tablet right now, and send your Quirkos file to a collegue using a Mac or Windows computer, and explore it using the same interface: an interface that is visual and intuitive, where you don't need to learn any technical query languages, or computer jargon.
Finally, qualitative data analysis shouldn't require the most powerful computer your department can afford, with as much RAM as you can fit in it. The header in the image above shows Quirkos purring away on an old 2008 netbook (!) running XP, and it still searches faster than certain other qualitative analysis software running on my Quad-core, desktop PC with 8GB of RAM.
This is becoming an embarassingly geeky post, but the point is that with Quirkos these stats don't matter anymore. You don't need to worry about what platforms your collegues are using, you can just share with them. And because it works so much faster, it means you can play and with and explore your data in a new way.
Before now, many people I know prefer to do their analysis on paper, and I don't blame them. But finally there is software that just gets out of the way, and puts your data first and formost, regardless of what you have to run it on.