Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software

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Computer-assisted (or aided) qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) offers tools that assist with qualitative research such as transcription analysis, coding and text interpretation, recursive abstraction, content analysis, discourse analysis,[1] grounded theory methodology, etc.


CAQDAS is used in psychology, marketing research, ethnography, public health and other social sciences. The CAQDAS networking project[2] lists the following tools a CAQDAS program should have:

  • Content searching tools
  • Coding tools
  • Linking tools
  • Mapping or networking tools
  • Query tools
  • Writing and annotation tools

Comparison of CAQDAS software[edit]

Application Type License Source Last Release Analyses OS Supported Tools
Aquad Client Free – GPL Open 2017-02 Text, Audio, Video, Graphics Windows Coding, Sequence Analysis, Exploratory Data Analysis
ATLAS.ti Client Proprietary Closed 2020-09 Text, Audio, Video, Graphic, Social Networks Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Cloud (web-based) Coding, Aggregation, Query, Visualisation
Cassandre Web-based/server Free – GPL Open 2018-10-09 Text All (java-based) Coding
CLAN Client Free – GPL Open 2019-06-10 Text Windows, macOS, Linux Coding
Coding Analysis Toolkit (CAT) Web-based Free – GPL Open 2014-06-28[3] Text All (web browser) Coding
Compendium/CompendiumNG[4] Client Free – LGPL Open 2014-02 Text All (java-based) Coding
Dedoose Web-based Proprietary Closed 2016-12 Text, Audio, Video All (web browser) Coding, Query, Visualisation, Statistical Tools
ELAN Client Free – GPL Open 2018-12-12[5] Audio, Video Windows, macOS, Linux Coding
KH Coder Client Free- GPL Open 2015-12-29[6] Text Windows, macOS, Linux
MAXQDA Client Proprietary Closed 2019-02-05 Text, audio, video, pictures, webpages, social networks Windows, macOS Coding, Aggregation, Query, Visualisation, Statistical Tools
NVivo Client Proprietary Closed 2020-03 Text, audio, video, pictures, webpages Windows, macOS Coding, Aggregation, Query, Visualisation
QDA Miner Client Proprietary Closed 2016-11 Windows
QDA Miner Lite Client Proprietary Closed 2017-01-12 Text Windows Coding
Qiqqa Client Proprietary Closed 2016-09 Windows, Android
Quantitative Discourse Analysis Package (qdap) (R package) Client Free- GPL Open 2019-01-02[7] Text Windows, macOS, Linux Word extracting, statistical analysis, visualization
Quirkos Client Proprietary Closed 2020-11[8] Text Windows, macOS, Linux,[9] Android Coding, Query, Visualisation
RQDA (R package) Client Free- GPL Open 2018-03[10] Text Windows, macOS, Linux Coding, Aggregation, Query, Visualisation
Transana Client Proprietary, used to be GPL[11] Closed 2017-11[12] Text, Audio, Video Windows, macOS Coding
XSight Client Proprietary Closed 2006 (abandoned) Windows

Project Exchange Format[edit]

In March 2019 the Rotterdam Exchange Format Initiative (REFI) launched a new open exchange standard for qualitative data called QDA-XML.[13] The aim is to allow users to bring coded qualitative data from one software package to another. Initially support was included in Atlas.ti, QDA Miner, Quirkos and Transana, with implementation pledged from Dedoose, MAXQDA and NVivo.[14] Although this was not the first standard to be proposed, it was the first to be implemented by more than one software package, and came as the result of a collaboration between vendors and community representatives from the research community. Previously there was very little capability to bring data in from other software packages.

Pros and cons[edit]

Such software helps to organize, manage and analyse information.[15] The advantages of using this software include saving time, managing huge amounts of qualitative data, having increased flexibility, having improved validity and auditability of qualitative research, and being freed from manual and clerical tasks. Concerns include increasingly deterministic and rigid processes, privileging of coding, and retrieval methods; reification of data, increased pressure on researchers to focus on volume and breadth rather than on depth and meaning, time and energy spent learning to use computer packages, increased commercialism, and distraction from the real work of analysis.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paulus, Trena M.; Lester, Jessica Nina (2016). "ATLAS.ti for conversation and discourse analysis studies". International Journal of Social Research Methodology. 19 (4): 405–428. doi:10.1080/13645579.2015.1021949.
  2. ^ "CAQDAS". Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "CompendiumNG website". Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  5. ^ "ELAN Release Notes – The Language Archive". Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  6. ^ "KH Coder download site". Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  7. ^ "qdap GitHub website". Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  8. ^ November 2020 "Quirkos 2.4 is released" Check |url= value (help).
  9. ^ "Quirkos for Linux". Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Transana website". Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Transana website". Archived from the original on 13 July 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Launch – Codebook Exchange". Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Products – Project Exchange". Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  15. ^ Banner, DJ; Albarrran, JW (2009). "Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software: a review". Canadian Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. 19 (3): 24–31. PMID 19694114.
  16. ^ St John, W; Johnson, P (2000). "The pros and cons of data analysis software for qualitative research". Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 32 (4): 393–7. PMID 11140204.

-External links[edit]