Qualitative Data Analysis


Qualitative research goes beyond the examination of who, what, when, and where, to explore why and how. The aim of the qualitative research will vary among the disciplines, but has been adapted by psychologists, sociologists, and other social scientists, as well as health professionals, political analysts, and educators. 

Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) includes a range of processes used to convert collected data into accessible forms for researchers to categorize, interpret, and find meaning.

Computer assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS) software is used to assist researchers with data management, transcription analysis, coding, mapping, interpretation of text, audio, or video, and other tasks. One advantage of the tools is their ability to store the analysis in a searchable interactive format. 

Free Software

There are many CAQDAS options available. Although there are expensive proprietary CAQSDAS platforms filled with functions and abilities, there is also free software that provide high performance platforms as well. Listed here are a few of the better reviewed ones.
  • R Project
    R is a language, not a program, but it provides a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.
  • RStudio
    An open source and enterprise-ready professional software for R
  • Coding Analysis Toolkit (CAT)
    Web based CAT won the Best Research Software award from the Information Technology & Politics in the American Political Science Association.
  • Compendium   A software tool providing a flexible visual interface for managing the connections between information and ideas.
  • AQUAD   Supports texts of any kind (e.g. transcripts), audio-data (e.g. interview recordings), video-data (e.g. observations) and pictures (e.g. photos, drawings).
  • Weft QDA Analyze field notes, interview transcripts, and other documents.
  • Audacity
    Free, open source, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing
  • NCH Express Scribe   Audio player software for PC or Mac designed to assist the transcription of audio recordings.   Foot pedal-controlled - Marilyn Dispensa in DIIS has a foot pedal.  

Proprietary Software

There are many choices, but these are some of the leading competitors:
  • ATLAS.ti
    One of the most widely software programs. It features a full package of data management and coding tools and is optimized for teamwork. Student licencing is available.
  • NVivo
    Another leading and powerful software program for qualitative data analysis. Also optimized for teamwork. Student licencing is available.
  • Dedoose
    The chief selling point of Dedoose is that it is a web based CAQDAS application.
  • MAXQDA   Enables analysis of a variety of qualitative data including text, pdf, tables, audio, video, focus group transcripts, tweets, bibliographical data and still images.  
  • QDA Miner
    Supports the analysis of textual data such as interviews and news transcripts, open-ended responses, as well as the analysis of still images. Available for free in a Lite version.

Contact Us

picture of Lisabeth Chabot
College Librarian
(607) 274-3182
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Health Sciences Librarian
(607) 274-1197

Research Citation Management

Mendeley (Mendeley Guide)  
A research management tool that allows you to organize and annotate PDFs, insert bibliographies and citations into your research paper and collaborate in groups. Mendeley offers both desktop and web access, so you'll need to download the software to get started. It is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. 

Zotero (Zotero Guide) 
Zotero is software that allows you to easily collect, manage, and save bibliographic information about the items you find on the Web. Zotero allows you to attach pdfs, notes, images and screenshots to citations.  It also works with word processing programs to help you easily cite your sources as you write.

Qualitative Research and QDA Tutorials

Lynda.com: for videos and training related to qualitative research.

QDA: Step-by-Step Video (YouTube)

Qualitative Research: Methods in the Social Sciences. DVD 8478 (20 minutes)

Coding Qualitative Data

Ithaca College Software

SPSS: A related statistical processing system for quantitative, rather than qualitative, analysis. SPSS facilitates editing, testing, and visualization of data - this software is part of the standard IC lab software bundle included on lab computers and public computers in the Library.  It is listed under IBM SPSS Statistics.