CAQDAS commentary

Coding is a process, not an event

Coding is a process, not an event
By Christina Silver on Nov 21, 2017 at 06:04 PM in CAQDAS commentary

What lies behind the red flag question: “I’ve done all my coding – now what?” In my last blogpost I considered the first likely culprit: starting to code before thinking through its purpose. But thinking about the purpose isn’t enough. A second issue is the need to think about coding as an on-going process – not as a single event that gets “done” before moving on to the next event. Coding is the opportunity to repeatedly connect with our data.

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"OK I've done all my coding. What's next?" Err, didn't you plan that already?

By Christina Silver on Nov 07, 2017 at 10:47 AM in CAQDAS commentary

Yet again this week I was asked the red flag question in a CAQDAS workshop: “Coding’s done. Now what?” This flags the inappropriate use of CAQDAS: no analytic planning done before plunging into helter-skelter coding. In this post and the next I’ll deal with the two underlying problems: starting to code without thinking about its purpose, and thinking of coding as an event rather than a process. Taken together these can result in a mass of codes that don’t lead to a thoughtful response to the research question. First: how to think about the purpose of coding.

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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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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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CAQDAS at a Crossroads: Controversies, Challenges, Choices

CAQDAS at a Crossroads: Controversies, Challenges, Choices
By Christina Silver on Jul 20, 2016 at 05:53 AM in CAQDAS commentary

Last week I gave the keynote at the 1st International Symposium on Qualitative Research and the 5th Ibero-American Congress on Qualitative Research, in Porto, Portugal. It was a good crowd of 350-400 delegates. A few people have asked me what I spoke about so here's a brief summary.

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Breaking down the boundaries between CAQDAS advocates and critics

Breaking down the boundaries between CAQDAS advocates and critics
By Christina Silver on Jun 30, 2016 at 10:32 AM in CAQDAS commentary

I was searching through tweets using the #CAQDAS hashtag the other day and came across one that sent me reeling. And not in a good way. I've since been pondering why it prompted such a strong reaction, which might not have happened had I not been to the recent ICQI conference.

The language of determinism and constructivism in CAQDAS discourses.

At the opening plenary of the Digital Tools stream at ICQI, Kristi Jackson highlighted that critics of CAQDAS often frame their positions in the language of determinism, whereas advocates use the language of constructivism. She noted that to determinist critics
"the software limits personal agency by standardizing processes", whereas to constructivist advocates "the software expands options and promotes diversity". Spot on.

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Making digital tools sexier

Making digital tools sexier
By Nicholas Woolf on Jun 16, 2016 at 01:20 PM in CAQDAS commentary, What's new in CAQDAS?

Digital tools for qualitative data analysis are powerful and sexy, but does everyone know? And what can we / should we do about it...here are some musings from some recent conference experiences.

Who would travel half way across a continent to a conference with less than 30 participants? Christina and I were recently at the ICQI 2016 conference in Champaign at the University of Illinois. Norm Denzin, the founder and organizer of ICQI, told me 1,305 qualitative researchers attended this year...

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The advanced NVivo workshop was so useful. I now have the skills to enable me to use NVivo much more powerfully. Christina is a brilliant trainer and she adapted the course to suit the requirements of those that attended. Christina also gave everyone individual help with their projects. I could not recommend Christina's course highly enough, or emphasise more the value of this course for researchers working with qualitative data.
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