Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS)

Unlike data analysis in quantitative research, computer software is not a must in qualitative data analysis. In fact, manual (paper-and-pencil and/or Microsoft Word) coding is preferred for manageable small-scale qualitative projects. However, if your projects require extensive qualitative data, computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) can be helpful for data analysis. Read Saldaña (2016, p. 28-36) for more information about manual vs. CAQDAS coding.

Below, you can find a number of CAQDAS. This list is not exhaustive, and if there is software you would like us to add to this page, please email us at QualLab@osu.edu.

We do not endorse any particular software––use what works best for you! We start with NVivo and Transana because they are available free for the College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE) community via the Office of Information Technology (OIT)’s Computer Labs, both on-site at the EHE Student Computer Lab (Ramseyer #329) and through remote access. We do argue that it is the researcher who conducts the analysis, not the software!

NVivo & Transana

  • Please refer to the individual pages for NVivo and Transana for more information.

Other CAQDAS

Microsoft Excel: While some researchers rely on sophisticated analytic software designed for qualitative research, others cannot afford these packages and need to rely on the everyday software they already have on their computers. Excel is such a software that can benefit researchers, whether using in conjunction with another package or one its own.

ATLAS.ti:

Dedoose: We recommend Dedoose especially for collaborative research projects.

  • Access: A 30-day free trial is available to all.
  • Resources: Dedoose Support YouTube channel.

MAXQDA:

  • Access: A 14-day free trial is available to all.

QDA Miner: One special feature is that one can export results to Tablea, which allows the use of advanced interactive data visualization tools.

Quirkos:

  • Access: A 14-day free trial is available to all.

Taguette: A simple open-source qualitative data analysis tool that allows you to tag your data––that way you can export it for analysis. It is a great free resource, but therefore a bit limited/specific in its capabilities.

  • Access: Free to all.

Additional Software for Qualitative Research

Qualtrics: A powerful survey tool and may be a nice complementary resource for recruitment, demographic information, etc. Note that there are many qualitative scholars who argue open-ended survey questions are a part of survey research and not necessarily qualitative research, whereas others argue open ended surveys are useful for some forms of content analysis.

CAQDAS Resources

*This page has been developed by Dr. Rhodesia McMillian and Dr. Penny A. Pasque for the AERA Professional Development Course “Qualitative Research from Literature Review to Large Dataset Analysis.” We revised this page so it is useful for all who stop by Quallab’s website. If you like something we say or that you learn on this page, please cite:

  • McMillian, R. & Pasque, P. A. (April 14, 2023). Professional Development Workshop: Qualitative Research from Literature Review to Large Dataset Analysis. American Educational Research Association. Chicago, IL.