CAQDAS: What is it?
CAQDAS is an acronym for "Computer
Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software," which is used to search,
organize, categorize, and annotate textual and visual data.
Presently, there are two main types of programs available for textual
analysis (This resource guide focuses on the first):
1. Software that searches, organizes,
and annotates textual data for further qualitative and/or
quantitative analyses, (CAQDAS); and
2. Software that analyzes textual
data by computing text statistics and concordances and/or conducting
dictionary-based content analyses.
Within this subset, there is also a
small group of helper applications that prepare text for computer
analyses. We are including the links here, as this might be a
necessary part of your qualitative research.
There are many selections out there,
from freeware (software available at no charge) to shareware (software
which can be purchased after a trial period). We had initially decided to
focus on a
freeware version, called AnSWR: Analysis Software for Word-Based Records,
sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, after
investigating the software, Kerry found that it was inefficient and
unfriendly, with little to no user support. In the process, we
researched 2 programs, one called NVivo, which came from the developers of
NUD*IST 4, and another called MAXqda. You will have the opportunity to try
out each of these programs!