Posts Tagged ‘qualitative methods’
Professor Stuart Schulman of University of Massachusetts (formerly University of Pittsburgh) designed a web server to provide qualitative data analysis (QDA) via web for social science datasets. The solution is called QDAP, currently housed at UMass but also at Pitt.
Bravo! Free, multi-user, qualitative data analysis for anyone with a web browser. They have clearly stated data warehouse privacy disclosures as part of the user agreement, and a tutorial for new users.
Thank you, Dr. Shulman.
From the About Us page:
The original QDAP lab was founded in the fall of 2005 by Dr. Stuart Shulman at the University of Pittsburgh. QDAP-UMass, founded in September of 2008 when Dr. Shulman moved to the Department of Political Science at UMass Amherst, trains and employs personnel able to code text from a wide variety of sources. Original material for content analysis might include in-depth interviews, open-ended survey answers, field notes, transcripts from focus groups or Web logs (blogs), e-mails, Web site content, results from database searches (such as LexisNexis™), congressional testimony or other historical texts, and a host of other unstructured but digitized text data sets. QDAP-UMass employs both UMass Amherst and University of Pittsburgh students, as well as professional staff trained in using ATLAS.ti (www.atlasti.com) as well as the Coding Analysis Toolkit, invented by Dr. Shulman. QDAP-UMass will continue to develop and make available online tools to improve the accuracy, reliability, and validity of coding projects.
Some day we’ll all have grants big enough to outsource our transcription needs.
I have to say I was pleased with the performace of the free and open source Transcriber software. No need for new hardware (read, foot pedals) or mouse clicks while transcribing. The software loads an audio clip and provides simple keystrokes for all major functions:
- dividing the audio track into chunks of text,
- marking the points where the speaker changes, and
- identifying the new speaker.
James Drisko’s excellent site at Smith College gives a fantastic overview of the choices you’ll make regarding software, solutions, and methodology.
Honorable mention: F4 transcription software.
How much information should the researcher keep about each site? Each interview? The answer, of course, is “all of it.” This can be an enormously time-consuming task, depending on the richness of the information the interviewer needs to collect about the site, the subject, and the interview instrument to be used.
Relational databases are purpose built for this sort of task. In a relational database, the user enters all the relevant information about each entity once, and only once. Whenever it is needed in the future, the database query looks up all the relevant bits of information from as many places as necessary for the task at hand. Many vendors are out there (Access, Filemaker, SAS, Oracle), but some of them are free and open source (MySQL, SugarCRM) and do not require years of study to become competent (OpenOffice).
To reiterate, you don’t need any money, and you don’t need a computer science degree to track your interviews in a relational database, but you can save yourself a ton of time.