December 22, 2020
It’s been a strange one, but there’s no excuse for missing end of year traditions, such as the electrifying countdown of the top qualitative blog posts of the year! With over 150 articles and counting, our blog is a fantastic resource for learning qualitative methods, analysis and software tools like Quirkos, and is read by hundreds of thousands of people a year. This also makes it a bit of a chore to flip through, so without
November 4, 2020
Facilitating Qualitative Analysis with CAQDAS
Webinar recording from the University of Surrey CAQDAS network seminar series
You can find the slides from the talk on 'Facilitating Qualitative Analysis with CAQDAS' here!
The blog posts linked at the end of the slide are:
Collaborative coding of qualitative data
Collaboration, data analysis and ethics
Here's a quick
September 29, 2020
Qualitative research often focuses on what people say: be that in interviews, focus-groups, diaries, social media or documents. Qualitative researchers often try to understand the world by listening to how people talk, but it can be really revealing to look at not just what people say, but how. Essentially this is the how discourse analysis (DA) can be used to examine qualitative data.
Discourse is the complete system by which people
August 25, 2020
There are specific challenges to writing up research based on qualitative data: there is a lot of data to present, complex stories to tell and conclusions that took a long time to develop. But some simple guidelines can help structuring any kind of research output based on qualitative methods, and help communicate the rich results that come from qualitative data.
There’s a very general statement
September 6, 2019
We’ve now launched our Quirkos Certified Trainers programme, which will allow users to better connect with and find experienced experts who can provide guidance and assistance in learning and using Quirkos.
As we’ve grown across the world, demand has increased for support materials in additional languages (which we keep developing) and for face-to-face workshops in their local areas and native tongues. Although we have many
August 16, 2019
There are a huge variety of ways we can analyse qualitative data, but perhaps the most commonly applied is known as Thematic Analysis. This is an approach classically described by Braun and Clarke (2006) but is straightforward and intuitive enough that most people seem to gravitate towards applying it in some form without reading anything about it!
Thematic Analysis, or TA is often confused or appropriated with grounded theory because it
June 18, 2019
In the first of a new series of video tutorials on qualitative methodology, we are going over some practical tips on semi-structured interviews for qualitative research, and creating interview guides:
The blog posts referenced in the video are:
10 tips for semi structured qualitative interviewing
Semi-structured Interview Guides for qualitative interviews
Recording good audio for qualitative
April 4, 2019
A research project is often a big logistical undertaking, qualitative or otherwise. Through literature reviews, developing research questions, grant applications and funding, ethics/IRBs, managing co-researchers and supervisors, recruitment, collecting data from respondents, research journals, analysing data and writing up findings, there are a myriad of steps. Each will generate their own documents, data and processes that need to be
March 18, 2019
Today we are launching a free update for Quirkos which adds support for the new QDA-XML standard which is released publicly today for the first time. This will allow users to bring their coded project data from one qualitative software package to another, with support eventually promised from ATLAS.ti, Dedoose, f4analyse, MAXQDA, Nvivo, Transana and QDA Miner. Essentially this means that in the next year you will be able to bring your
January 31, 2019
A good researcher knows that everything happens in context. It’s not just in social science, but a fundamental principle in physics – every reaction is caused by something. In studying people, communities and behaviour, we need to consider the embedded world in which they live.
In qualitative research this is always an important part of the research, but it also provides a difficult methodological question: how much of the context
October 31, 2018
This week we are releasing the first major update for Quirkos, Version 2! A huge thanks to all our beta testers who have been putting the new version to the test for the last few months, and sharing their suggestions for improvements.
While there is a lot more to come in the next year, here are 10 new things that make Quirkos more powerful and more intuitive.
1. The new User
October 8, 2018
In the run-up to the release of Quirkos 2.0, we are running a series of workshops in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh in October.
These are all interactive bring a laptop sessions, where participants can bring their own laptops and data, or use example data sets and follow along. We'll show all the basics of creating projects, bringing in text data, creating and managing codes, and exploring and exporting coded data. They are all
July 20, 2018
At the National Council for Research Methods ‘Research Methods Festival’ last month, Steve Wright (from the University of Lancaster) mentioned in his talk the frustrations he has with students that do the bog-standard ’12 semi-structured interviews’ methodology for their qualitative research projects. This prompted a lot of discussion and empathy over lunch, with many tutors lamenting how students weren’t
June 13, 2018
Essentially, observation is a type of, or more likely, a part of ethnography. In ethnography, anthropologists (people who study people) turn their observations of people, cultures and organisations into written field notes (a bit like a research diary). While some of this may be reflexive (the participants own thoughts and feelings) most focuses on the activities and interactions of the people being studied.
There are broadly two
May 18, 2018
This post is based on a talk I gave at ICQI 2018, which itself leads on from a talk from last year on the Entomologies of qualitative coding.
Good qualitative data is rich, and detailed - a fertile medium for understanding and interpreting the world. But the detail of the data comes at a price, usually qualitative data sources are lengthy, and are about a lot of different things. You don't just ask a single question that can be
April 26, 2018
So this much is obvious: quantitative research uses numbers and statistics to draw conclusions about large populations. You count something that is countable, and process results across the sample.
Qualitative methods are more elusive: however in general they revolve around collecting data from people about an experience. This could be how they used a service, how they felt about something, and could be verbal or written. But it is
February 26, 2018
Developing systems for the monitoring and evaluation of services, interventions and programmes (or programs to use the American English spelling) is a particular skill that requires great flexibility. As each intervention to be investigated is different, and the aims of the project and funders and service users vary, evaluations have to draw on a diverse toolkit of methods.
Qualitative methods are often an important part of this
January 3, 2018
Qualitative Analysis Software
Articles on using and learning Qualitative Analysis Software in general, and Quirkos in particular. Also known as CAQDAS software or QDA software tools.
General qualitative software articles
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
January 3, 2018
Articles on the analysis and coding of qualitative data
What is qualitative analysis?
How do you actually analyse qualitative data? How do you turn the results from your research into findings that can answer your research questions? Analysing qualitative data requires drawing meaning from it...
Making the leap from qualitative coding to analysis
So you spend weeks or months coding all your qualitative data.
January 3, 2018
Articles on qualitative methods
This series aims to introduce qualitative methods and some of the main approaches in collecting qualitative data.
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
November 23, 2017
If you are doing inductive coding or grounded theory, your coding framework can get complex, quickly. If you have hundreds of codes, they can become difficult to mangage which can slow down your coding - the part of your analysis you want as efficient and effective as possible so you can focus on identifying bigger trends.
Fortunately, this is what qualitative analysis software is best at - and whether you are using Nvivo, Atlas.ti or
November 9, 2017
It’s easy to get seduced by the excitement of primary data collection, and plan your qualitative research around methods that give you rich data from face-to-face contact with participants. But some research questions may be better illustrated or even mostly answered by analysis of existing documents.
This ‘desk-based’ research often doesn’t seem as fun, but can provide a very important wider context that
September 14, 2017
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, where the size of each word is proportional to the number of times it has been counted in the text. There are several free online tools that
August 29, 2017
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.
Here’s a summary of the main improvements in this release:
You can now bring together multiple projects in Quirkos, merge sources, Quirks and coding from many authors at
June 29, 2017
In the last blog post I referenced a workshop session at the International Conference of Qualitative Inquiry entitled the ‘Archaeology of Coding’. Personally I interpreted archaeology of qualitative analysis as being a process of revisiting and examining an older project. Much of the interpretation in the conference panel was around revisiting and iterating coding within a single analytical attempt, and this is very
May 19, 2017
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 Margaret Roller’s Research Design Review and the Digital Tools for Qualitative Research group and the newly relaunched Qual Page.
But these are only one part of the online qualitative landscape, and there are an increasing
April 27, 2017
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, as the prospect of converting dense, information rich studies into a fairly brief and tightly structured paper takes a lot of work and refinement. However, we’ve got some tips below that should help demystify the process, and let you
March 30, 2017
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.
Previously our releases had a binary-based and distro independent installer. However, this was based on 32 bit libraries to provide backwards
February 23, 2017
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 (or fairly neatly) organised and inter-related, and you can generate huge reports of all your coding work. Good job! But what happens now?
It's a question asked by lot of qualitative researchers: after all this
January 26, 2017
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. However, the typical small sample sizes can make even one or two frustrating responses difficult to stomach, since they can represent such a high proportion of the whole data set.
January 12, 2017
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, rather than starting by trying to learn a giant symphony. This will allow them to get used to
December 8, 2016
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. A great early Christmas present for yourself the team! It’s also a good long term investment, since our licences don’t expire and can be used year after year. They are transferable to new computers, and we’ve committed to provide free updates
December 1, 2016
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 could make collecting new data a rarer, and expensive event. However, some (including Dr Susanne Friese) pointed out that as the social world is always changing, there is a constant need to collect new data. I totally agree
November 24, 2016
Last month, Quirkos was invited to a one day workshop in New York on archiving qualitative data. The event was hosted by Syracuse University, and you can read a short summary of the event here. This links neatly into the KWALON led initiative to create a common standard for interchange of coded data between qualitative software packages.
The eventual aim is to develop a standardised file format for qualitative data, which not only
November 17, 2016
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 (eg Savin-Baden and Major 2013).
I generally don’t agree with these statements, and other qualitative bloggers such as Christina Silver and Kristi Jackson have written responses to critics of
November 10, 2016
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, in both the 2015 general election and the EU referendum polling failed to predict the outcome. In 2015 the polls suggested very close levels of support for Labour and the Conservative party but on the night the Conservatives won a significant
November 3, 2016
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, and to ensure you get good engagement from your participants.
1. Make sure you have a helper!
It’s very difficult to run focus groups on your own. If you are wanting to layout the room, greet people, deal with
October 28, 2016
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, and questions to make sure they are well integrated into your research strategy. Next week we will look at some practical tips for effectively running and facilitating a successful session.
Focus groups have been used as a research method since the 1950s, but were not as common
October 20, 2016
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. During the research process it is best to try to be in a constant state of feedback with your data, and theory.
During your literature review, you may have several cycles through the published
October 13, 2016
Triangles are my favourite shape,
Three points where two lines meet
Qualitative methods are sometimes criticised as being subjective, based on single,
October 6, 2016
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
September 29, 2016
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 researcher attempts to be a neutral influence on research. They make rational and logical interpretations, and assume a ‘null hypothesis’, in which they expect all experiments to have no effect, and have no pre-defined concept of what
September 22, 2016
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 because they were too expensive and time consuming to analyse. Increasingly they were replacing open-ended questions with a series of Likert scale questions which could be automatically and statistically
September 15, 2016
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, it’s almost essential to be recording your thoughts, reflecting on the process, and keeping yourself writing and thinking about the bigger picture. Writing doesn’t start after the analysis process, in qualitative research
September 8, 2016
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 adopting mixed-method data collection and using a small amount of qualitative data which needs to be combined with quantitative data. So this year, how can students decide the best approach for the analysis of their data, and can CAQDAS or QDA software
August 11, 2016
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 back, and examine your coding framework, challenging yourself to look at the data in a fresh way. There are some more suggestions for how to do this in a blog post article about turning coding strategies on their head. But while in Delhi recently to
July 21, 2016
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 questions? For research based on quantitative data, there is usually a definitive answer: you can decide ahead of time what sample size is needed to gain a significant result for a particular test or method.
This post is hosted by Quirkos, simple and
July 14, 2016
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 your respondents. This might include demographic data, your own reflexive notes, context about the interview or circumstances around the data collection. This discrete or even quantitative data can be very useful in organising your data sources
July 8, 2016
“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 framework on the fly, from interesting topics that emerge from the data. However, that's not really accurate. There is a lot more to it, and a myriad of different approaches.
Basically, grounded theory aims to create a new theory of interpreting the world,
June 30, 2016
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 have?’. It’s easy to start out a project thinking that just a few themes will cover the research questions, but sooner or later qualitative analysis tends towards ballooning thematic structure, and before you’ve even started you might have a framework with
June 9, 2016
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 direct quotes from participants to name codes or topics. This is sometimes called “in vivo” coding, from the Latin ‘in life’ and not to be confused with the ubiquitous qualitative analysis software ‘Nvivo’ which can be used for any type of
June 2, 2016
For the first time in ages I attended a workshop on qualitative methods, run by the wonderful Johnny Saldaña. Developing software has become a full time (and then some) occupation for me, which means I have little scope for my own professional development as a qualitative researcher. This session was not only a welcome change, but also an eye-opening critique to the way that many in the room (myself included) approach coding qualitative
May 27, 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 of other talks, and here are some pointers from just a few of them!
1. Qualitative research is like being at high school
Johnny Saldaña’s keynote described (with cutting accuracy) the research cliques that people tend to
April 29, 2016
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
April 21, 2016
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 other people. Through methods like interviews and focus groups, you can get a one-off insight into people’s own descriptions of themselves. If you want to measure change over a period, you need to schedule a series of meetings, and each of which
April 15, 2016
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 or the wider research community, and for market research firms, it will be their clients. Regardless of who the end user of your research is, Quirkos offers a lot of different ways to get your hard earned coding out into the real world.
April 7, 2016
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 enough that people rarely have trouble engaging with them.
In many fields of studies this is also true for researchers and those who use evidence professionally. They become accustomed to p-values, common statistical tests, and plot charts. Lots
March 24, 2016
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 start with large overarching themes (a-priori) and break them down, or begin with smaller more simple themes, and gradually impose meanings and connections in an inductive approach. There’s a need in this series of articles to talk about the various
March 16, 2016
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 focus groups into text data ready for analysis. However, hiring a transcriber is expensive, and is often beyond the means of most post-graduate researchers.
There are also serious advantages to doing the transcription yourself that make a better
March 10, 2016
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, but it is a huge and complicated issue. There’s a great chapter ‘Designing and Selecting Samples’ in the book Qualitative Research Practice (Ritchie et al 2013) which goes over many of these methods in detail.
March 3, 2016
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 support funding applications, evaluations and impact assessments. We wanted to do a ‘qualitative case study’: to work with one local charity to explore what qualitative evidence they already had, what they could collect, and use Quirkos to
February 17, 2016
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 key informants”. But what exactly does this mean? What exactly counts as in-depth? How structured are semi-structured interviews?
This post is hosted by Quirkos, simple and affordable software for qualitative analysis.
Download a 1
February 11, 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 tradition?!
It’s really amazing how much Quirkos has grown over the last 18 months since our first release. We now have hundreds of users in more than 50 universities across the world. The best part of this is that we now get much more
December 11, 2015
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 that product. For Melody Truckload, a Los Angeles tech company focused on app-based freight logistics, this means intense market research and a focus on training sales agents as researchers.
Kody Kinzie, director of Melody’s special
December 10, 2015
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 even journal articles. Since it can be any source of text data, you can have a project that includes a large number of different types of source, which can be useful when putting your research together. This means that you can code things like your research
November 25, 2015
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 out what they will actually DO in the software, and how that will help them. I am happy to help out individually, because everyone’s project is different. However, here are a few pointers which cover the basics and can help demystify the
November 16, 2015
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 offer amazing services, including counselling, peer discussion groups and advice to health professionals, which can help ease the pain and isolation of a difficult journey.
We helped them put together a compilation of qualitative evidence in
August 20, 2015
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:
Greater ability to work with Levels to group and explore themes
Improved performance when working with large projects
New report generation and styling
Ability to copy and paste quotes directly from search and hierarchy views
Improved CSV export
July 24, 2015
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 are not always clear cut, and generally there should be a fluid link between them. But the process, and enacting of these steps is often quite distinct, and the more I think about the ‘typical’ workflow for qualitative analysis, the more I
July 6, 2015
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 boards in the UK (especially in health) make engaging with members of the public, or targets of the research a requirement in publicly funded research.
While there are similar obligations to provide dissemination and research outputs that are
June 26, 2015
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 slides here, but they are not very text heavy, so don’t read well without audio!
The two talks which preceded me, by Professors Glynis Cousin and John Sandars, echoed quite a few of the themes. Professor Cousin spoke persuasively about
June 19, 2015
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 work, when driving, with fitness apps etc. So we are actually pretty good at understanding things like percentages, fractions, and making sense of them quickly. It’s a good reason why people like to see graphs and numerical summaries of data
June 10, 2015
The terms ‘unstructured data’ and ‘qualitative data’ are often used interchangeably, but unstructured data is becoming more commonly associated with data mining and big data approaches to text analytics. Here the comparison is drawn with databases of data where we have a defined field and known value and the loosely structured (especially to a computer) world of language, discussion and comment. A qualitative
May 20, 2015
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 packages like SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo and Kwiksurveys, while all compatible with Quirkos, require a paying subscription before you can actually export any of your data and analyse it.
However, there are two great free platforms we recommend that
May 14, 2015
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 spreadsheet, or online survey tool such as SurveyMonkey or LimeSurvey.
Now, users can bring in mixed-method data in one click, with the ability to analyse and compare qualitative and quantitative data together. If you have a survey with
April 30, 2015
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 there are defined and measurable outcomes.
While most evaluations generally include numerical analysis, qualitative data is often used along-side the quantitative, to show richness of project impact, and put a human voice in the process.
April 24, 2015
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 the link above, I hope you find something interesting in there! The full title is "Overview of a qualitative study on the impact of the 2014 referendum for Scottish independence in Edinburgh, and views of the political process" and here's the summary
April 14, 2015
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
April 2, 2015
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 play. To this end, we have created two sources of qualitative data that anyone can download and use (with any package) to learn how to use software for qualitative data analysis.
These can be found at the workshops folder. There are two different
March 18, 2015
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 market research firms about their analysis process, many are doing most of their research by printing out data and transcripts, and coding them with coloured highlighters. Some are adamant that this is the way that works best for them, but others are a
February 3, 2015
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 reproducible.
Specifically, the study by Lancichinetti et al. (2015) looks at automated topic classification using the commonly used latent Dirichlet allocation algorithm (LDA), a machine learning process which uses a probabilistic approach to categorise and filter large
December 2, 2014
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 discipline and society as a whole. A lot of people have been saying that acceptance for qualitative research is growing in general: not only are there a large number of well-established specialist journals, but mainstream publications are accepting more
July 18, 2014
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 software to help with qualitative analysis.
At first this sounds very low, but it holds true with my own limited experiences with market research firms, and also with academic researchers. The first formal training courses I attended on Qualitative
June 20, 2014
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 was a great conference about the current state of software for qualitative analysis, but for me the most interesting talks were from experienced software trainers, about how people actually were using packages in practice.
There were many important findings being
May 14, 2014
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 getting to this stage has been part of a long process from an idea that came about many years ago.
Like many geeks on the internet, I’d been amazed by the work done by Jeff Han and colleagues at the University of New York on cheap, multi-touch
April 12, 2014
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 based on a theory they are looking to test. In inductive coding the researcher takes a more bottom-up approach, starting with the data and a blank-sheet, noting themes as the read through the text.
Obviously, many researchers take a pragmatic approach,
December 8, 2013
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 qualitative analysis is, or that it could help them to better understand their world. This could be a council or hospital trust wanting to better understand the needs of people that use their services, or a team developing a new product, wanting feedback
December 2, 2013
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 right, with various different techniques, definitions, approaches and proponents.
More on each one will follow in later articles, and it’s worth remembering that these need to be paired with the right questions, sampling, and analysis to get
November 11, 2013
Quirkos qualitative blog archive
This is an archive (up-to March 2021) of articles on qualitative analysis, data and software from our blog:
Welcome our new Qualitative Research Specialist
Last year we advertised for a new post at Quirkos, billed as a Qualitative Evangelist to help us provide wider materials on qualitative methodologies and develop a community of researchers as we grow into