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Case study Atlas.ti

You can get a short overview of the use of Atlas.ti, a software for qualitative data analysis (QDA). The software was used during a diploma thesis and a post graduate research project in the area of business information systems and organisation.

The following descriptions relate to diploma thesis and a research project likewise. After we conducted and transcribed all the interviews (7 diploma thesis, about 40 in the research project), we qualitatively analysed the transcripts. Finally, we chose Atlas.ti since it was recommended by friends and colleagues. MaxQDA would have been the other option.

First, you create a new project (Hermeneutical Unit). You then add the transcripts to the project. You can further add the audio data to which you can listen later directly during the analysis. Since we transcribed with F4 we could directly import the transcript and the connected audio data with the function Import F4 Document. By using the Family Manageryou can group the transcripts (we group it by company or used questionnaire).

We deductively established some of the codes before the analysis started. We chose especially such codes which represent rather facts than highly interpretative codes (e.g. the job of a person is rather a fact, whereas his opinion towards an incident could be interpreted variably). The biggest part of the codes was created inductively during the analysis. We used the Auto-Coding-Funktion to mark topics which were important for us and which occured quite often (e.g. the term team work was of high importance for us, it was often mentioned. Since we didn’t want to code team work each time manually, we chose to automatically code it.).

After that we read the transcripts and coded manually either by Open Coding or by Code Liste. Subsequently we grouped the codes by using the Code Family Manager.

While reading you hopefully get some ideas for the text analysis, the logical connections made by the interviewees and which hopefully recur in the data. These connections and hypotheses are assessed and connected to the relevant text passage with the Memo option.

At the beginning of the analysis, memos and hypotheses are not completely clear. Further the connections and ideas occur only after reading some of the transcripts. Thus, we recommend to re-read all the data and analyse it twice.

You will use the memos later while compiling the results into the paper or thesis. They can be linked and justified directly with the connected text passages.

Advantages

– Import F4 transcripts
– While reading the transcripts you can also listen to the audio files

Disadvantages

– Available for Windows only
– I used only a few functions, thus, the interface with all its different functions appears to be a bit oversized

Functions used

Create project => Create New Hermeneutic Unit
Import transcripts => Import F4 Documents / Assign, Associate Documents
Read and listen to the transcripts => Open Document / Play – Pause (F4)
Coding of relevant text passages => Open Coding, Coding by List, Auto Coding
Categorisation of codes => Code Family Manager
Create connections/ideas => Create Memos
Create hypotheses => Create Memos
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Welcome at SoSciSo

A bit delayed though, we want to welcome everybody officially on SoSciSo . The page is still somehow under construction. There are still a few small bugs (Opera user may fogive us the not so small bug with our database). We try our best to fix the errors as soon as possible. Further, the database is not complete yet.

The database is the heart of the website. Along the social science research process all relevant software programs are listed according to the different phases. You are looking for instance for a program in qualitative data analysis? You will find it under Software > data analysis > Qualitative. Or a program for designing figures? Software > Publication > Diagrams. The database will be continuously updated. You are also welcome to participate. And we are also very happy about comments and suggestions.

How did we came up with the idea to this website? Since we find ourselves quite often somewhere in this social science research process, we are inevitably face with the question where, when and how which software might be useful. Since a while we are using Atlas.ti, JabRef, Latex, DIA, yED, F4, Dropbox or Google Scholar in our daily research projects. And since we often noticed that such knowledge about using such software is not evident, we would like to help others with this website.