The Books

The Five-Level QDA method for harnessing CAQDAS packages powerfully

Our books, one each for ATLAS.ti, MAXQDA and NVivo, are available to pre-order now from the Routledge website. They are part of the "Developing Qualitative Inquiry" series, edited by Janice Morse

"At last—3 user friendly books that bridge the gap between the researcher’s methodological goals and the capabilities of the software package. These books, targeted towards your particular software program, will assist you in maintaining/protecting the integrity of the methodological aspects of a study.  Rather than enabling the software capabilities to drive the analytic process, they will assist you to take full advantage of the power that the software has to offer.

The books contain examples that offer a window into how expert CAQDAS users have learned to accomplish this with much practice in many projects. Each book offers an opportunity to learn as quickly as possible the process as used by experts. For instructors, the book provides a way to embed CAQDAS training into your qualitative research curricula".

Janice M. Morse, PhD (Nurs), PhD (Anthro), PhD (Hon)
Professor & Barnes Presidential Chair, University of Utah College of Nursing

Overview of the books

Software is cut-and-dried – every button you press has a predictable effect – but qualitative analysis is open-ended and unfolds in unpredictable ways. This contradiction is best resolved by separating analytic strategies – what you plan to do – from software tactics – how you plan to do it. Expert CAQDAS users have unconsciously learned to do this. The Five-Level QDA method unpacks the process so that you can learn it consciously and efficiently.

The first part of each book explains how the contradiction between analytic strategies and software tactics is reconciled by “translating” between them. The second part provides both an in-depth description of how the software works - either ATLAS.ti, MAXQDA or NVivo - and comprehensive instruction in the five steps of “translation”. These steps are illustrated with examples from a variety of research projects. The third part contains real-world qualitative research projects from a variety of disciplines, methodologies, and kinds of qualitative analysis, all illustrated in ATLAS.ti, MAXQDA or NVivo using the Five-Level QDA method. Each book is accompanied by three sets of videos demonstrations on the Companion Website.

The Five-Level QDA method is based on Nick and Christina's combined 40 years of experience teaching CAQDAS packages as platforms for conducting qualitative analysis. After many years observing our students’ challenges we developed the Five-Level QDA method to describe the process that long-time CAQDAS experts unconsciously adopt. The Five-Level QDA method is independent of software program or methodology, and the principles apply to any type of qualitative project.

In a nutshell, the key principles are

  • to clearly distinguish analytic strategies from software tactics
  • to recognize the inherent contradiction between the emergent strategies of qualitative research and the cut-and-dried nature of the software tactics
  • to understand that there are alternative ways of reconciling these contradictions
  • to choose to reconcile the contradiction in a manner that leads to using the CAQDAS package powerfully. Five-Level QDA resolves the contradiction through a conscious process of translation between strategies and tactics 

For a fuller account see Silver, C., & Woolf, N. H. (2015). 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), 527-543.

Testimonials

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

Blog

Translation in Five-Level QDA: What's in a name? Actually, quite a lot

Translation in Five-Level QDA: What's in a name? Actually, quite a lot
By Nicholas Woolf on Jul 07, 2017 at 07:00 PM in Five-Level QDA in practice

“Translation” is the key concept in our Five-Level QDA method, so it’s important to know what it means. The word just showed up in the title of Susanne Friese’s blog post on the ATLAS.ti website – “Translating the process of open/initial coding in Grounded Theory” – and Susanne ended by inviting readers “to read more about this process of translation” in our textbooks on the Five-Level QDA method coming from Routledge in September. But as Susanne uses the word “translation” in a very different way from us we want to clear it up right away.

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Don't lose your analytic reflections: The value of writing spaces in CAQDAS packages

Don't lose your analytic reflections: The value of writing spaces in CAQDAS packages
By Christina Silver on Jun 17, 2017 at 09:30 AM in CAQDAS commentary

Writing spaces are one of the most valuable features of dedicated CAQDAS packages. But I often see projects that make little use of them. Here’s why they are so potentially powerful.

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Harnessing NVivo Classifications: it's all about units

Harnessing NVivo Classifications: it's all about units
By Christina Silver on May 29, 2017 at 06:01 AM in NVivo Learning, Five-Level QDA in practice

Kath McNiff’'s post on the NVivo Blog about classifying data in NVivo has prompted me to get writing about how I deal with this teaching challenge. For me, teaching students to choose between the available tools for classifying data and how to harness them appropriately revolves around units.

For years I've experimented with different ways of teaching how to harness the NVivo tools for classifying factual characteristics of data and respondents - for example the socio-demographics of participants or the metadata about documentary evidence. One of the great things about NVivo is that it offers several different ways of doing this, making it a very flexible tool.

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No 'basic' or 'advanced' CAQDAS features

No 'basic' or 'advanced' CAQDAS features
By Christina Silver on May 13, 2017 at 09:25 AM in CAQDAS commentary

This blog post is a response to Steve Wright’s reaction to a post I made on Twitter: “There are no basic or advanced #CAQDAS features, but straightforward or more sophisticated uses of tools appropriate for different tasks”

Thanks Steve for starting this conversation – it’s really important to debate these issues, and fun too! The sentiment behind the Twitter post underlie the Five-Level QDA® method that Nick Woolf and I have developed. Our forthcoming series of books explain our position, so here I briefly respond to Steve’s comments.

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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.

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