Training in harnessing CAQDAS packages using Five-Level QDA

We provide various training courses which are customised to your needs. 

Face-to-face training

Face-to-face training harnessing CAQDAS packages using Five-Level QDA

Face-to-face training can take many different forms depending on your needs. Typically we provide on-site workshops focused on learning a particular CAQDAS package, for example ATLAS.ti, Dedoose, MAXQDA, NVivo, QDA Miner, Quirkos or Transana. Training can be provided for research teams working on a specific project, for larger mixed groups, or embedded into university curricula. 

Workshops utilize your chosen CAQDAS package, and vary in duration, number of participants and format. The following are the five most popular formats, but we can also tailor the format to meet your particular needs. Contact Christina by email to discuss the appropriate format for your project or team.

Standard Three-Day Curriculum  

This format provides the best opportunity for comprehensive learning of the full range of capabilities of the chosen software. After gaining a complete understanding of the program’s design and features, we illustrate how to use the program in a wide variety of qualitative projects, from the most structured to the most unstructured. Following the Five-Level QDA principles, the objective is to learn how the analytic steps of a research project are “translated” into tasks that the chosen software can perform. We then learn how to operate all features of the software, with ample time for extended practice, individual coaching, and commencing work on projects. 

Customized Three-Day Curriculum

Where all participants are working on the same project the curriculum over the three days can be adjusted to best serve the participants’ needs. For example, we may focus all three days around the specifics of the project rather than illustrate the use of the program in a wide variety of qualitative projects. Alternatively, we may conduct an Intensive Two-Day Curriculum workshop first, and then spend the third day applying the what has been learned to the beginning stages of the project. 

We can also customize our curriculum for teaching graduate students within university curricula. This can be implemented as a workshop or embedded into semester-long research methods modules. We can either provide these sessions ourselves, or instruct faculty to deliver Five-Level QDA themselves.

Intensive Two-Day Curriculum

The curriculum is the same as for the Standard Three-Day Curriculum, except that there is less time for extended practice and individual coaching. To take best advantage of this intensive format we recommend that participants have collected some of their data so they are able to begin work on their projects soon after the workshop.

Extended Format Two-Day Curriculum

Where all members of a research team are attending the training together, it may be more productive to initially conduct only an Intensive Two-Day Curriculum workshop on-site that is the specifics of the project, after which the team begins work on the data analysis and then utlitizes our telephone and on-line project consulting, coaching and advanced training services on an as-needed basis as the project progresses. 

The choice between a Customized Three-Day Curriculum  or an Extended Format Two-Day Curriculum depends on several factors, including the length and nature of the study, whether the team members are of a similar level of experience or consist of more-experienced researchers and less-experienced research assistants, etc.

Software Planning Workshops

If you have not yet decided which CAQDAS package is most appropriate for your needs we can also organize half day comparative software workshops that outline the principles of using CAQDAS packages and 


Online training & coaching

Project-based training and follow-up coaching are all conducted by web conference, email, and telephone as needed.

Project-Based Training in CAQDAS packages

Project-Based Training

Online Project-Based Training focusses on the learning needed for a project, rather than comprehensive training, much of which may not be required for any particular project.

The process begins with working together to understand how the research question will be fulfilled by an analytic plan and strategies, and how these in turn can best be harnessed using the capabilities of the program. Just those skills needed to accomplish the goals, and typically continue coaching throughout the project, adding more software skills as needed.


Follow-Up Coaching

Follow-Up Coachingis best undertaken on a “just-in-time” basis, when new skills are about to be put into practice. It is not efficient to learn complex skills much in advance of needing to use them. Typical coaching  needs are:

  • to review software tools not used for some time
  • to reacquaint you with sophisticated uses of the program that you are only now ready to use
  • to review a project together to see how the next steps may be implemented in your chosen CAQDAS package


The 3 day NVivo course was based around Five-Level QDA and was an excellent balance between the technicalities of using analytical software and its real-world use as a research tool. Christina grounded the training in how to conduct high quality post-graduate research as a means to enhance good research practice, allow effective data analysis, and support research project management. This is far preferable to an approach focusing largely or wholly on the technical details of software, with little relation to conducing actual academic research. Although the 3 days was very intensive it comes highly recommended.
Simon Cox
PhD Student, Nottingham Business School, Chief Officer, NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group


The Five-Level QDA method books are in production

The Five-Level QDA method books are in production
By Christina Silver on Mar 05, 2017 at 08:04 PM

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.


Don't blame the tools: researchers de-contextualise data, not CAQDAS

Don't blame the tools: researchers de-contextualise data, not CAQDAS
By Christina Silver on Jan 07, 2017 at 06:26 PM in CAQDAS commentary

In an earlier post on CAQDAS critics and advocates I promised to provide evidence for my position that CAQDAS packages are not distancing, de-contextualising, and homogenising, as is sometimes claimed. I have already argued that CAQDAS packages actually bring us closer to our data, and given an illustration of how this can happen, so here I consider the de-contextualizing issue.


An illustration of how CAQDAS tools can bring us closer to data

An illustration of how CAQDAS tools can bring us closer to data
By Christina Silver on Nov 14, 2016 at 10:49 AM in CAQDAS commentary

In my previous post I argued that using dedicated CAQDAS packages for analysis could bring us closer to our data, rather than distance us from it, as some critics suggest. Here I illustrate this by outlining how different CAQDAS tools can be used in to fulfil a specific analytic task, thus bringing us closer to data.

Let's imagine we are doing a project in which we need to generate an interpretation that is data-driven rather than theory-driven. It could involve one of a number of analytic methods, for example, inductive thematic analysis, narrative analysis, grounded theory analysis, interpretive phenomenological analysis'. Whatever the strategy, an early analytic task may be to familiarize with the transcripts in order identify potential concepts. There are several different ways we could go about fulfilling this analytic task using dedicated CAQDAS packages. Here I discuss three.


Does CAQDAS distance us or bring us closer to our data?

Does CAQDAS distance us or bring us closer to our data?
By Christina Silver on Oct 01, 2016 at 09:29 AM in CAQDAS commentary

In an earlier post on CAQDAS critics and advocates I promised to provide evidence for my position that CAQDAS packages are not distancing, de-contextualising, and homogenising, as is sometimes claimed. So I'm starting a series of posts. First I'm taking the suggestion that the use of CAQDAS distances us from our qualitative data and illustrate why I believe the converse to be true. Here I outline my position, and I'll illustrate my argument with examples in subsequent posts.


Th Five-Level QDA method : related posts and resources

Th Five-Level QDA method : related posts and resources
By Christina Silver on Aug 01, 2016 at 01:44 PM in Five-Level QDA issues & ideas

As well as our own Five-Level QDA blog Nick and Christina have contributed to other blogs, newsletters and magazines on aspects to do with the use of CAQDAS packages. In addition, there are posts and resources written by others which are related to our work that we think researchers using different CAQDAS packages may find useful. Here we collate these resources for easy access. We will update this post as additional resources come to our attention relate to Five-Level QDA. If you know of something that should be listed here, please let us know.