Software for Qualitative Research: how about social web apps?

I was recently working on a systematic review and wanted to use a qualitative data analysis software to get some of work done. The work was essentially mining through a large volume of text, identify patterns of information, classify (code them), put them into nodes, and then analyze the output.

I wanted a software that had good features, was reasonably cheap to work with and would meet requirements. What was available?

I looked at NVivo & Atlas.ti. Both are great piece of software, but both are very expensive to licence. Both are great to try out, and while Nvivo is time bound, Atlas.ti restricts the documents one could use for some real work. There may have been other commercial software that might let me do my work, but I did not know them.

Then I looked at what was available in Open Source. Searched Sourceforge ( and found out about weft qda ( Weft is a good software, open source and free, and one can use Ruby to do some programming to extend it further. I did not have the time to do the necessary programming and wanted to get on with the job. However, weft is good but does not support everything I want to do and then all things do not work as well. In weft qda, you can create nodes and set up your codes and export them to another document and write up your paper, but it's not nearly as sophisticated as nvivo, for example.

At that point, I started exploring the idea of combining web services like annotation services (, tagging (eg diigo), tagging and marking (eg tumblr, for instance), and online mind mapping (eg xmind)? I was wondering if one could do a mashup of all these components (based on their APIs) and then the resulting software would let the pieces to be ported to either an online word processing program like Google Docs or another word processor and be made ready for presentations?

Would be good to hear about your ideas.


2 comentarios:

Gunashekar dijo...

What you say makes a lot of sense. As a user I would love a complete software and open source to top. Web applications have all the elements that are needed and possible.

Alan McKenzie dijo...

You can try QDA Miner Lite. It's a free qualitative software that will allow you to do most of your qualitative work.

You can download the software from Provalis website: ://