When Many Choices are Good Choices: Considerations in Qualitative Data Analysis Software Platforms Through a Discussion of MAXQDA, NVivo, and Dedoose

Session Number: 2193
Track: Qualitative Methods
Session Type: Panel
Tags: Qualitative Data Analysis, Qualitative Research Software
Session Chair: Tamara Cohen Daley [Senior Study Director - Westat]
Discussant: Tamara Cohen Daley [Senior Study Director - Westat]
Presenter 1: Kerry Bruce [Executive Vice President - Social Impact]
Presenter 2: Holly Bozeman [Westat]
Presenter 3: Sierra Frischknecht [Senior Associate - Social Impact]
Time: Nov 02, 2018 (04:30 PM - 05:30 PM)
Room: Hilton - Veterans Meeting Room B

Abstract 1 Title: From Coding to Reporting: MAXQDA as a Choice for Qualitative Evaluators
Presentation Abstract 1:

MAXQDA is a qualitative coding software originating in Germany.  Some of the pros of using MAXQDA include it’s cost reasonableness, the availability of “mobile” licenses, and the ability to get a free classroom version for students to try.  On the technical side, colored coding makes visual analysis and second round coding much easier, coding can be done with words and the definitions of codes can be developed in advance or as part of the process.  The structure of the code system makes also makes it easy to group and re-group codes as the analysis progresses.  Finally – when the final themes have been identified, it is simple to “extract” all of the text that is related to that theme, making writing a research or evaluation report very simple.  This presentation will share both some of the highlights and limitations of this qualitative coding software and discuss its value to evaluation researchers.


Abstract 2 Title: NVivo as a Reliable Choice for a Wide Range of Qualitative Needs

Presentation Abstract 2:

NVivo is perhaps the most well-known of the QDAS products, originally developed as NUD*IST in the early 1980s. Over the past several decades, NVivo has continually expanded its functionality, and is currently compatible with a number of other programs, such as Qualtrics, OneNote, and RefWork. Among other aspects, NVivo features an easy-to-use platform, a large number of users with whom to share experiences, and responsive 24/7 tech support for troubleshooting. NVivo also has a familiar interface and a ‘Wizards’ function to help you more quickly undertake more complex tasks. This presentation will cover the use of NVivo for analysis of the common qualitative sources, such as transcripts and open-ended survey responses, as well as for document review and literature reviews. Features of data management, coding in teams, and running queries to find relationships in coding will also be discussed.


Abstract 3 Title: Newer to the Field: Dedoose with a Different Qualitative Software Model

Presentation Abstract 3:

Compared to other programs, Dedoose is a relative QDAS newcomer and takes a different approach in two primary ways: It is entirely web-based, and users pay $12.95 per month that they use the program—making it budget friendly for almost any project team. Features include a coding system that is easy to teach and use, with a memo system for team collaboration and the ability to apply codes quickly by typing. Dedoose’s built-in analysis offers several methods for selecting a group of relevant coded passages – either for a particular code, or for the intersection of several codes – with “hot” analytics throughout that link directly to the actual text. More advanced features include the ability to weight codes and code audio, video, PDFs, spreadsheets, and images. This presentation will discuss Dedoose’s strengths and weaknesses, giving examples of the varying levels of functionality that meet many evaluation needs at a great value.


Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Every evaluator working with interviews, focus groups, observations, text, and other types of qualitative data is faced with the question of how best to analyze her data. There are a dizzying array of Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS) options to facilitate analysis, many of which share common functionalities. Evaluators often default to what they already know or what their colleagues use. If you have never used a QDAS before, what are the factors to consider? If you are already using a particular platform, are there compelling reasons to make a switch? In this presentation, we will present the pros and cons of three popular programs: MAXQDA, NVivo and Dedoose, including a discussion of key factors such as opportunities for team collaboration, complexity, cost, and capability for mixed-method analysis.