By Christina Silver & Nick Woolf, 6th March 2017
We’re really excited to have submitted to Routledge our manuscripts for three books on the Five-Level QDA method – one each for ATLAS.ti, MAXQDA and NVivo. Nick developed the theory and when we met in 2013 we realized that we had both come to very similar conclusions about the issues involved in teaching and learning to harness CAQDAS packages powerfully. We’ve since been working together to refine, test and write-up the method.
What if you use a different CAQDAS package?
The Five-Level QDA method transcends software programs and methodologies, so the principles apply whatever CAQDAS pacakage you are using and whatever type of project you are undertaking. We were only able to write three books at once, but hope to publish books for other CAQDAS packages in the future. Watch this space...
To find out more
- read about how the Five-Level QDA method came about in our 2015 article From guided instruction to facilitation of learning: The development of Five-level QDA as a CAQDAS pedagogy that explicates the practices of expert users. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18(5).
- read a brief overview of the Five-Level QDA method in Nick’s blogpost “What is Five-Level QDA all about?”
- or for a fuller account see our post on the Digital Tools for Social Research blog
- to register your interest fill out our form, stating which CAQDAS packages you are interested in and we’ll add you to our mailing list and let you know when the books are available
Three parts to the books
Each book follows the same structure, comprising three parts, each of which has three chapters:
Part 1: The principles of the Five-Level QDA method
Mastering the method means first learning the principles before hands-on use of the software. Chapter 1 lays the groundwork with the central principle – the contradiction between strategies and tactics when using a CAQDAS package to conduct qualitative analysis, and alternative ways to reconcile the contradiction. Chapter 2 fleshes out the first two levels of strategy and Chapter 3 deals with translating strategies into tactics.
Part 2: The Five-Level QDA method in practice
These chapters apply the principles. Chapter 4 provides an orientation to the software – either ATLAS.ti, MAXQDA or NVivo – and for those working in teams. Chapter 5 describes in depth how the software works in terms of Five-Level QDA principles. Chapter 6 describes in depth the steps of the translating strategies into tactics, with examples from a variety of research projects.
Part 3: Case illustrations
These chapters illustrate the Five-Level QDA method in a variety of real-world qualitative research projects. Chapter 7 explains how to learn by analogy from the case illustrations in order to transfer the underlying process. Chapters 8 and 9 contain complete documentation of two full-case illustrations provided by researchers who have used the software for their own work.
A big ‘thank-you’ to our case contributors
The case illustration chapters bring the Five-Level QDA method to life in real-world contexts and we are very grateful for the work and enthusiasm our contributors brought to the project. The case illustrations are:
- An exploratory literature review using ATLAS.ti, by Elizabeth M Pope
- A discourse analysis using ATLAS.ti, by Trena Paulus and Mary Alice Varga
- An exploratory literature review using MAXQDA, by Elizabeth M Pope
- A thematic analysis to evaluate an educational program using MAXQDA, by Christian Schmieder
- An exploratory literature review using NVivo, by Elizabeth M Pope
- A program evaluation using NVivo, by Kristi Jackson
You’ll notice that Elizabeth has contributed three case illustrations, one for each of the books – but she didn’t do three literature reviews. We translated her original work done using ATLAS.ti into MAXQDA and NVivo. We did this to illustrate that the Five-Level QDA method transcends software programs. It’s a method of teaching and learning to harness CAQDAS packages powerfully, not a method of qualitative data analysis, and Elizabeth’s three chapters illustrate that it is the strategies – what you plan to do – that drive the tactics – how you plan to do it. The distinction between qualitative strategies and software tactics is at the heart of the Five-Level QDA method.
A call for more case contributors
The books are accompanied by a series of videos that will be available on the Companion Website. We will be producing these videos over the next few months, while the books are in production. One of the sets of videos illustrate the Five-Level QDA method using the real-world projects listed above. But these projects do not provide sufficient variety to fully illustrate the method so we will soon be inviting other researchers to contribute “mini-cases” of qualitative analysis using ATLAS.ti, MAXQDA or NVivo, to augment illustrations from the cases in the books.
We will be outlining exactly what we are looking for from the mini-cases soon – in the meantime if you have used either ATLAS.ti, MAXQDA or NVivo for qualitative or mixed-methods analysis and are interested in finding out more about contributing a mini-case, please fill out our form, telling us a little about your work, and we will be in touch.
A big ‘thank-you’ to our supporters
We wouldn’t have got to this point without the support of many people. Many leaders and teachers in the CAQDAS community have provided the encouragement we needed to keep going. The Five-Level QDA method is all about making explicit what CAQDAS experts have unconsciously learned to do, and we want to thank all the CAQDAS experts who have told us so enthusiastically in their own different ways that the Five-Level QDA method spells out what they do. In particular the following CAQDAS experts: Ann Lewins, Kristi Jackson, Michelle Salmona, Sarah L Bulloch, Eli Lieber, Judy Davidson, Daniel Turner, Steve Wright, Pat Bazeley, Susanne Friese.
Nick Woolf is the best instructor I have had for learning a software application....Nick's highly interactive teaching style significantly increased my success...I returned to work with renewed insight and ideas about where my research was leading. Nick presented a remarkably effective class for both new and experienced researchers.Mary F. Annese, MPA, Research Specialist
The Casey Family Program