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,

How to use qualitative analysis software (QDAS) for data management

  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

Quirkos 2.1 launches with support for new exchange standard!

  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

10 new things in Quirkos 2.0!

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

Why we will release two versions of Quirkos next week

  Next week we will release Quirkos 2.0 on the 31st of October! It’s our first major update in 4 years, and will not only provide a number of major new features, but also sets the platform for a lot more new things to be added in the next few years.   Actually, next week we will be releasing two versions of Quirkos: 2.0, but also a final release for the 1.x series, version 1.6. This adds rich text support, all the bug fixes and

Quirkos 2 Scottish Homelands Tour

  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

Announcing Quirkos version 2!

Today we are announcing that a major new version of Quirkos is coming in September! Version 2  will offer big new features that users have requested, including memos, rich text support, new editable reports, an improved interface, and much more.   Memos are a feature that people have been requesting for a while, and we are excited to have this coming in the next version. This allows users to write notes which are attached to specific

Quirkos v1.5.2 is here!

  We are pleased to announce a bug fix release for Quirkos that takes us to version 1.5.2.   This is a fairly minor update, but includes 4 bug fixes people had reported:     • Quirks that got ‘stuck’ and couldn’t be dragged     • An issue with deleting sources that sometimes caused properties to have extra ‘not defined’ responses     • A bug

The importance of the new qualitative data exchange standard

  Last week, a group of software developers from ATLAS.ti, f4analyse, Nvivo (QSR), Transana, QDA Miner (Provalis) and Quirkos were in Montreal for the third international meeting on the creation of a common file format for exchanging qualitative data projects. The initiative is also supported by Dedoose and MAXQDA, which means that all the major qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) providers have agreed to support a standard that will

Using qualitative analysis software for literature reviews

  You’ve probably heard of or even used a reference management software like EndNote, Mendeley or the free and open-source Zotero. However, while these tools are great for doing your references at the end of a project and integrating with Word or LibreOffice, there are still major advantages to using qualitative analysis software like Quirkos. This video will give you an overview of how to structure either a systematic or literature

Qualitative analysis software

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

Quirkos v1.5 is here

  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:   Project Merge You can now bring together multiple projects in Quirkos, merge sources, Quirks and coding from many authors at

Quirkos v1.4.1 is now available for Linux

  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

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

Practice projects and learning qualitative data analysis software

  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

Looking back and looking forward to qualitative analysis in 2017

  In the month named for Janus, it’s a good time to look back at the last year for Quirkos and qualitative analysis software and look forward to new developments for 2017.   It’s been a good year of growth for Quirkos, we now can boast of users in more than 100 universities across the world. But we can see how many more people are using Quirkos in these institutions as the word grows. There is no greater complement than

How Quirkos can change the way you look at your qualitative data

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

Stepping back from coding software and reading qualitative data

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

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 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

Developing and populating a qualitative coding framework in Quirkos

  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

An early spring update on Quirkos for 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

Starting out in Qualitative Analysis

  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

Teaching qualitative analysis software with Quirkos

  When people first see Quirkos, we often hear them say “My students would love this!” The easy learning curve, the visual feedback and the ability to work on Windows or Mac appeal to students starting out in qualitative analysis. We have an increasing number of universities across the world using Quirkos to teach CAQDAS at both undergraduate and post graduate levels. I just wanted to give a quick overview of why this can be

Quirkos 1.3 is released!

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: PDF import 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 New

What can CAQDAS do for you? The Five-Level QDA

  I briefly mentioned in my last blog post an interesting new article by Silver and Woolf (2015) on teaching QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis) and CAQDAS (Computer Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS). It’s a great article, not only because it draws from more than 20 years combined pedagogical experience, but suggests a new way to guide students through using software for qualitative analysis.   The basis of the strategy is the

The CAQDAS jigsaw: integrating with workflows

  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

Free materials for qualitative workshops

  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

Announcing Pricing for Quirkos

At the moment, (touch wood!) everything is in place for a launch next week, which is a really exciting place to be after many years of effort. From that day, anyone can download Quirkos, try it free for a month, and then buy a licence if it helps them in their work. We've set up the infrastructure so that people can either place purchase orders through their finance department, or make a direct sale through the website by credit or debit card.

Paper vs. computer assisted qualitative analysis

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

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

Quirkos is coming...

  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