Computer-Aided Methods for Typification in Qualitative Social Research

  • U. Kelle
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Classification, Data Analysis, and Knowledge Organization book series (STUDIES CLASS)


In the past decade a variety of computer-aided techniques have been developed to aid the qualitative analysis of unstructured textual material in interpretive sociology and ethnography. This contribution gives an overview of these techniques, focusing especially on the building of typologies. To start, some fundamentals of qualitative or interpretive research will be outlined and thereafter the specific kind of typification will be discussed that can be regarded as a cornerstone of qualitative data analysis: the “data-driven” or empirically grounded construction of descriptive typologies. In the third part the general principles of non-formatted textual database systems that can be used to support this process of data-driven typification are described. In the fourth part some of the more complex techniques of data administration fostered by this software and how these techniques relate to typification are discussed. The final part investigates to what extent computer-aided methods can stimulate progress in the field of qualitative methodology.


Qualitative Data Analysis Qualitative Researcher Text Segment Text Passage Interpretive Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. ABEL, T. (1948): The Operation called Verstehen. American Journal of Sociology, 54, 211–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. AGAR, M. (1991): The Professional Stranger: An Informal Introduction to Ethnography. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  3. BRAEMER, G. (1994): Wandel im Selbstbild des Familienernährers? Reflexionen über vierzig Jahre Ehe-, Erwerbs-und Familienleben. Working Paper No. 29, Sonderforschungsbereich 186, Bremen.Google Scholar
  4. BRÜCKNER, H. (forthcoming): “Times of Poverty”: Lessons from the Bremen Longitudinal Social Assistance Sample. In: D. Chekki (ed.): Urban Poverty in Affluent Nations.Google Scholar
  5. DENZIN, N. (1989): Interpretive Interactionism. Sage, New-bury Park/London/ New Delhi.Google Scholar
  6. DREYFUS, H. (1972): What Computers Can’t Do — A Critique of Artificial Reason. Harper and Row, New York.Google Scholar
  7. DREYFUS, S. and DREYFUS, H. (1986): Mind Over Machine — The Power of Human Intuition and Expertise in the Era of the Computer. Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  8. GEERTZ, C. (1973): The Interpretation of Cultures. Hutchinson, London.Google Scholar
  9. GIDDENS, A. (1976): New Rules of Sociological Method. A Positive Critique of Interpretive Sociologies. Hutchinson, London.Google Scholar
  10. GIDDENS, A. (1984): The Constitution of Society. Outline of the Theory of Structuration. Polity Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  11. GLASER, B. (1992): Emergence vs. Forcing: Basics of Grounded Theory. Sociology Press, Mill Valley, CA.Google Scholar
  12. GLASER, B. and Strauss, A. (1967): The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Aldine, Chicago.Google Scholar
  13. LEE, R. and FIELDING, N. (1995): User Experiences of Qualitative Data Analysis Software. In: U. Kelle (ed.), Computer-Aided Qualitative Data Analysis. Sage, London, 29–40.Google Scholar
  14. MERTON, R. (1968): Social Theory and Social Structure. The Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  15. MUHR, T. (1991): ATLAS/ti: A Prototype for the Support of Text Interpretation. Qualitative Sociology, 14, 349–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. MUHR, T. (1992): Catching Bugs and Butterflies in Networks. Paper presented at the conference ‘The Qualitative Research Process and Computing’, 7-9 October, Bremen.Google Scholar
  17. KELLE, U. (1994): Empirisch begründete Theoriebildung. Zur Logik und Methodologie interpretativer Sozialforschung, Deutscher Studienverlag, Weinheim.Google Scholar
  18. KELLE, U. (1995): An Overview of Computer-aided Methods in Qualitative Research. In: U. Kelle (ed.): Computer-Aided Qualitative Data Analysis. Sage, London, 1–17.Google Scholar
  19. LAKATOS, I. (1982): The Methodology of Scientific Research Programs. Philosophical Papers, Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  20. MILES, M. and HUBERMAN, M. (1984): Qualitative Data Analysis: A Sourcebook of New Methods. Sage, Newbury Park.Google Scholar
  21. PATTON, M. (1990): Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods. Sage, Newbury Park.Google Scholar
  22. SEIDEL, J. (1991): Method and Madness in the Application of Computer Technology to Quantitative Data Analysis. In: N. Fielding, R. Lee (eds): Using Computers in Qualitative Research. Sage, London.Google Scholar
  23. STRAUSS, A. and Corbin, J. (1990): Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. Sage, Newbury Park.Google Scholar
  24. TAYLOR, S. and BOGDAN, R. (1984): Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods: The Search for Meanings. Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  25. TESCH, R. (1990): Qualitative Analysis: Analysis Types and Software Tools. Falmer Press, London and Philiadelphia.Google Scholar
  26. WILSON, T. (1970): Conceptions of Interaction and Forms of Sociological Explanation. American Sociological Review, 35, 697–710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. WINOGRAD, T.; FLORES, F. (1986): Understanding Computers and Cognition. Ablex Publishing Corp., Chicago.Google Scholar
  28. WEITZMAN, E.; MILES, M. (1995): Computer Programs for Qualitative Data Analysis. Sage, Thousand Oaks.Google Scholar
  29. WITZEL, A. and MÖNNICH (1994): Developing a Typology of Young Adults’ Occupational Biographies. Paper presented at the conference “Empirically Based Theory Construction and Qualitative Life Course Research”, 17-19 November, Bremen.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. Kelle
    • 1
  1. 1.Sonderforschungsbereich 186University of BremenBremenGermany

Personalised recommendations