Qualitative data analysis using statistical software
Ethnograph uses segment as the basic unit to retrieve text from documents and can be described as text retrieval statistical software. Segments are then coded in form of twelve codeword, which can nest to seven levels deep as sort of query function to retrieve text. It is important to point that search result depends on query function in form of nests using codes.
Hyperqual is integrated software, which encompass all features for data entry, memory and retrieval. It thus helps in entering data collected from interviews, observations and documents for further analysis.
Hypersoft provides integrated facility for data entry and data retrieval for theory building. Researcher can avail the facility of indexing, searching and analyzing textual data. Besides, Hypersoft does so by providing facility for annotating, categorizing, and coding of raw data.
NUDIST software developed by QSR International Corporation is one of the most widely used qualitative software. It is based on the concept of a building a logical hierarchical system of nodes where each node is logically related to other nodes. It does so by flagging and text search to construct a possibly large and highly structured hierarchical database indexing into the documents to be analyzed.
Node search uses seventeen operators including Boolean, proximity and other operators to generate new nodes to build hierarchical indexing categories encouraging generation of new ideas.
e) Textbase Alpha
Textbase alpha provides facility for coding of both narrative text and as well data having an internal structure. Textbase alpha also provides facility for assembling coded segments, which can be represented by frequency counts, and data matrix output. Textbase Beta, new and modified version of Textbase alpha provides facility to code longer portions of line.
SONAR is basically text retrieval software, which also provides facility for coding. In SONAR, researcher doesn’t have to extensively prepare for text files and can instant retrieve data based on coded segments. Researcher can edit data by putting comments or an index of comments. SONAR also provides facility for conditional searches based on Boolean operators.
ATLAS/ti is perhaps the most powerful software that is available today with an impressive interface. ATLAS/ti works on the same logic of searching, coding and indexing as NUDIST does, though in case of ATLAS/ti concept of node and hierarchical logical system, which is key to analysis process in NUDIST is not followed. Rather it focus on inter-code relationships and theory building, rather than straight code and retrieve. Researcher use codes and supercodes representing a series of statements expressing textual relationships, to build theory, concept and relationship through operators.
Though there are various qualitative data analysis software available, researcher should cautiously decide on software that should be used in a project depending on data to be analyzed and analysis theory to be followed.
Hypersoft provides integrated facility for data entry and data retrieval and Ethnograph provides facility to combine code words by using Boolean logic for constructing complex queries.
Though, in majority of cases, researcher wants to do much more than coding and in such cases ATLAS/ti and NUDIST provides the best facility for theory building. NUDIST and ATLAS/ti provides facility to code textual data. Researcher can attach annotation, indexing and memo to be used at query stages to build theory. Both ATLAS/ti and NUDIST software programmes are based on the analysis methodology of 'grounded theory’. Though this doesn’t mean that both these software can’t handle analysis based on other research methodology.