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