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Using Software for Qualitative Data Analysis: Research Outside Paradigmatic Boundaries

Big Data? Qualitative Approaches to Digital Research

ISBN: 978-1-78441-051-3, eISBN: 978-1-78441-050-6

ISSN: 1042-3192

Publication date: 3 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter aims to explicate the use of computer software for qualitative data analysis. Drawing on both a review of relevant literature and a reflexive commentary on an ongoing ethnography, this chapter argues that the use of computer software for qualitative data analysis facilitates rigour and reliability in research, whilst also contributing to wider debates regarding the distinctions made between different research paradigms.

Design/methodology/approach

The chapter is divided into two sections. In the first, a review of literature pertaining to the use of computer software for qualitative data analysis is reported. The key themes to emerge from this review are then explored in the second section, which consists of a reflexive commentary on the use of computer software for qualitative data analysis within an ongoing three-year Canadian/UK research project.

Findings

The chapter concludes firstly by foregrounding the methodological benefits of using computer software for qualitative data analysis, and secondly by commenting on wider debates relating to the historical distinctions between quantitative and qualitative research paradigms.

Practical implications

The chapter suggests that the uptake of computer software for qualitative data analysis should be considered as an integral element of the research design process.

Originality/value

The originality of this chapter rests in its focus on methodology rather than method, on a reflexive discussion of the place of computer software within the research process rather than a technical description of how software should be used. This chapter is of value not only to researchers who are using or considering using software for their research, but also to researchers who are engaged in wider methodological discussions relating to qualitative and quantitative research paradigms, and to research quality and generalisability.

Keywords

Citation

Tummons, J. (2014), "Using Software for Qualitative Data Analysis: Research Outside Paradigmatic Boundaries", Big Data? Qualitative Approaches to Digital Research (Studies in Qualitative Methodology, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 155-177. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1042-319220140000013010

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited