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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!