Using Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS) to Assist Data Analyses
Qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) has much to offer the health researcher. Software facilitates efficient management of qualitative and mixed methods data through a variety of tools to organize and keep track of multiple data sources and types and of the ideas flowing from those data. Coding tools provide structure to the categories and themes evidenced in the data, allowing for rapid retrieval of information. Increased depth and rigor of analysis are facilitated through capacity to search and interrogate the data sources using a combination of coding and other data management tools. Questions can be asked about how often and how different categories or themes are expressed by different groups within a sample or within different contexts or times. Similarly, experiential data might be compared for those with different measures on health-related variables. Relationships between different aspects of experience (or attitudes or feelings, etc.) can be explored and/or verified using coding queries, through a range of visual displays, or through statistical analyses using exported coding information. Such queries can be limited to one type of data, or multiple types of sources can be imported, coded, and analyzed together. Linking tools are used throughout to connect reflective thoughts to the data that prompted them or interim results to the evidence that supports them. Explanations of these processes are illustrated by figures and examples.
KeywordsQualitative Software Analysis Mixed methods Coding Visualizing Theory building
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