The analysis of unstructured information, particularly in the form of text, has long been a technique in the armory of social scientists, who have to deal with conversational records, historical documents, unstructured interviews, and the like. Unsurprisingly, a considerable amount of methodological literature has developed on the subject. The methods of “qualitative data analysis” have now spread to areas of information analysis as diverse as market research and legal evidence analysis. Related computer techniques, from database management systems and word‐processors to specialized qualitative data analysis software, have been pressed into use. This article discusses the information processing methodology and theory assumed by computer‐based qualitative data analysis software; and, in particular, describes and analyzes the methodology of the NUDIST system developed by the authors.
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