Nicholas Woolf and Christina Silver

Nick and Christina have been working together since the first ATLAS.ti User Conference in Berlin in 2013, where Nick gave the keynote introducing Five-Level QDA. We discovered that that we had independently reached similar conclusions about how to better help students and researchers gain CAQDAS expertise, and since then we have been developing, refining and implementing the Five-Level QDA method.

Below you can read about us and the on-going training and consulting we offer researchers, Christina in the UK and Nick in the US.

You can find a list of our publications here

Nicholas Woolf, Ph.D.

Nicholas Woolf
Nicholas Woolf

Nick has been training qualitative researchers and teaching CAQDAS workshops in the US and Canada since 1998. He specializes in working with researchers to think through their research questions, turn the questions into a coherent analytic plan, and design the process for implementing the plan on a CAQDAS package. Once the plan is designed, Nick provides project-based training in ATLAS.ti, meaning that time is spent on learning just the ATLAS.ti skills needed for each phase of the project, rather than in comprehensive training in the entire program, much of which may not be required for a particular study. The focus is on efficiently completing the project, in terms of both time and cost.

For individual researchers and dissertations students Nick guides the data analysis phase of a project from inception of the plan to completion of the project using the Five-Level QDA  method. About half the needed consulting time is generally spent at the beginning planning stage, and the remainder on an as-needed basis as the project progresses.

For team and funded research projects Nick’s role varies greatly according to need. For some projects he serves only as an outside consultant, providing guidance and advice at turning points of a data analysis on an as-needed basis. For other projects he is more involved as a team member, participating in or leading the data analysis, and training and coaching the researchers in whatever features of ATLAS.ti  they need to use. With some projects Nick undertakes the entire data analysis himself, and participates in the writing of the resulting papers. Nick has been involved in a range of projects, from evaluations to grounded theory studies, including studies in  family medicine, public health, education, and leadership and management studies.

After observing the learning process of thousands of his students in ATLAS.ti workshops, Nick developed a perspective for helping researchers more quickly gain the expertise that long-term users of CAQDAS develop through trail-and-error. He called this Five-Level QDA and presented this method as the keynote address at the 2013 ATLAS.ti User’s Conference in Berlin. Since then he has been working with Christina Silver in further developing and offering the method as a CAQDAS pedagogy. Their textbook Five-Level QDA: A method for harnessing powerfully will be published in 2017.

View further details about Nick's services

View Nick's publications

Contact Nick 

Christina Silver, Ph.D.

Christina Silver
Christina Silver

Christina has been using and teaching CAQDAS packages since 1997. She has conducted many different research projects, big and small, with and without the use of qualitative software – including her own studies and many other academic and applied research projects. She has experience in using most of the leading CAQDAS packages and has taught almost 10,000 researchers in their methodologically-informed use.

Christina’s passion is working out creative and efficient ways to analyze different types of data using customized software applications. She really doesn’t mind the topic, she just wants to get her hands on data and harness software tools! She enjoys the dynamic nature of intensive workshop-based training, coaching and project consultancy, where she can help design strategies that are best suited to the needs at hand. This way, she learns from those she works with – and everyone is happy!

Christina’s particular interests relate to the relationship between technology and methodology and the teaching of computer-assisted analysis. Joining forces with Nick to refine Five-Level QDA has given her the ability to support researchers to harness CAQDAS powerfully in a more structured and effective way.

Some examples of consultation projects in harnessing CAQDAS packages powerfully, using Five-Level QDA, that Christina specializes in are:

  • Project planning and research design – working with groups and individuals to determine how to structure their work in the context of CAQDAS use.
  • Mixing methods – working with groups to plan how to integrate qualitative and quantitative materials, as well as how to transform qualitative information into quantitative information, with a view to applying statistical analyses in other software (e.g. SPSS).
  • Planning for your PhD – working with doctoral students to highlight how CAQDAS can help them project manage their PhD.
  • Planning for team work – working with research teams to highlight the considerations applicable when working together on a single research project using software.
  • Train the Trainer – working with university faculty to design curricula for integrating CAQDAS learning into methods courses.

Christina has designed and carried out analysis for a number of independent organizations. She has taught under- and post-graduate qualitative methods courses in UK and European universities and currently contributes to doctoral programs at several institutions, using Five-Level QDA in workshops of varying lengths.

Christina Co-founded Qualitative Data Analysis Services (QDAS) through which she and colleagues, including Nicholas Woolf, provide consultancy, analysis and training. Additionally, she is the Manager of the CAQDAS Networking Project and Co-Director of Day Courses in Social Research, both in the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey, UK. Christina is based in the UK but travels around Europe (and beyond).

View more information about Christina

View Christina's publications 

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Contact Christina 

Testimonials

So often I have attended training courses and wondered what I was doing there, feeling my life slip away into oblivion while I could be doing other more useful and interesting activities such as watching iron rust or paint flake. However, Christina's was superb. It was exactly what I had hoped for. Pitched at precisely the right level and presented in a very clear, engaging way. Being able to spend time having some real content and context given by someone who really understands the software and researcher's needs, along with a sensible amount of time to try things out and get help was great. I'm much more confident about getting to grips with my data now.
Paul Rause
Interdisciplinary researcher, Southampton University

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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