Codebooks for qualitative research

Many people undertaking qualitative analysis will use some form of coding to help explore and categorise their data. Often, the researcher will use hundreds of codes to do this, and the list of codes, themes or topics that are used to analyse the data is called the coding framework, and a codebook describes them. A codebook doesn’t include the extracts of data themselves, but a detailed description of the codes, how they should be used,

Analyzing qualitative data tutorial

How do you actually analyse qualitative data? How do you start to digest a rich qualitative data set, and begin to pull together the strands that will show insights from the data?   If you've ever written a book report in high school, some of the basic concepts are the same. You need to create a summary of a much longer piece of work that describes the most important events, characters and their motivations. There will also be recurring

Should you use inter-rater reliability in qualitative coding?

  In qualitative analysis it’s sometimes difficult to agree even with yourself. With complex data sets, and ‘wicked’ issues, there are times that a researcher coding qualitative data will not consistently code different sources to the same themes or codes in the same way. Often there many themes, rich and numerous sources, and difficult decisions to be made as to where sections of text fit. So to promote consistency, researchers

Collaborative coding of qualitative data

Coding qualitative data is a huge undertaking. Even with relatively small datasets, it can be a time-consuming and intensive process, and relying on just one person to interpret complex and rich data can leave out alternative viewpoints and risk key insights being missed. For one or both of these reasons, qualitative analysis is often performed as a collaborative team, with multiple coders either splitting up the task or providing multiple

A Beginners Guide to Coding Qualitative Data

  Our latest video tutorial introduces coding of qualitative data for those just starting out. Tagging or coding qualitative data with codes and themes is one of the most common methods for analysing qualitative data. But how do you do it? What's a code and a theme? How does it work in practice? Our short guide shows this:   The video uses the example of writing a book report to consider aspects of the data that are interesting,

Quirkos 2.2 and Quirkos Cloud are here!

Today we are launching a free update for Quirkos (v2.2) that adds new features, bug fixes, and allows access to the Quirkos cloud subscription service. There is only be one version of Quirkos to download for Windows, Mac or Linux, but it will allow you to do both offline and online cloud storage for your qualitative projects.   Existing users will see a few minor bug fixes relating to PDF import and DOCX export, and we will have more

Qualitative Coding Systems and the Extended Mind

(This blog post is based on a talk I gave at ICQI 2019, as part of a panel with the excellent Silvana di Gregorio, Paul Mihas, Johnny Saldana and Charles Vanover) Sometimes it can seem that our bodies are doing things without us knowing about it. I would struggle to tell someone the PIN number for my bank card, but my fingers know it – they just automatically type the right sequence! In the traditional conceptualisation of the mind,

Memos, notes and line-by-line coding in Quirkos 2

  One of the major updates in Quirkos 2 is the new memo system. Now you can just drag and drop a section of text to the memo column, and attach a little note to it. You can add as many notes as you like, and by clicking on them, select the section of text to add to a code/Quirk.   We went through a lot of different annotation and memo implementations when designing the memo feature, and this is the one that seems to work best. Our

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, and getting to some higher level of interpretation than reading the data at face value. This is the process that can seem difficult for newcomers to qualitative techniques, or those used to quantitative methods where the

Balance and rigour in qualitative analysis frameworks

  Training researchers to use qualitative software and helping people who get stuck with Quirkos, I get to see a lot of people’s coding frameworks. Most of the time they are great, often they are fine but have too many codes, but sometimes they just seem to lack a little balance. In good quality quantitative research, you should see the researchers have adopted a ‘null hypothesis’ before they start the analysis. In

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 as well, see for example this presentation from Jean Scandlyn on the pros and cons of

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, wondering what to include and what’s new. So why not include qualitative analysis software (also known as CAQDAS or QDA software)?   There’s a common misconception that software for qualitative research takes too long to teach, and

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 review boards and even ask questions in qualitative studies, it can be more difficult to engage them with the analysis of the research data and this is much rarer in the literature (see Nind 2011). However, Quirkos was specifically designed to make

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 data, looking for other sources already out there can help prevent redundancy and improve your conceptualisation of a project. Broadly you can think of two different types of secondary data: sources collected previously for specific research projects,

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 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