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Mindsets matter: think about how you think about CAQDAS programs

Mindsets matter: think about how you think about CAQDAS programs
By Christina Silver on Oct 31, 2018 at 02:06 PM in Five-Level QDA issues & ideas

On 17th October 2018 I had the privilege of opening the Digital Tools day at the World Conference on Qualitative Research (#WCQR2018) in Lisbon, Portugal. My talk was called “Mindsets for harnessing digital tools in qualitative and mixed-methods analysis: The Five-Level QDA method”. My main message was that we need to be more explicit about the way we think about the role of digital tools in the research process and our engagement with them.

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Can tactics inform strategies?

Can tactics inform strategies?
By Christina Silver on May 25, 2018 at 08:41 AM in Five-Level QDA in practice

Analytic strategies come before software tactics: that’s the Five-Level QDA approach. But there are times when software tactics can usefully inform analytic strategies. This leads to serendipitous exploration, and fits well with the emergent spirit of qualitative research.

When analytic strategies drive software tactics the use of the software is meaningful – focused on the needs of the research rather than the capabilities of the program. But many CAQDAS advocates say that new software features (tactics) do offer new analytic possibilities (strategies), and so the relationship goes both ways. I agree.

While I usually discuss the downsides of software tactics driving analytic strategies, here is an example from the workshop I led at the MQIC in Berlin earlier this year of tactics appropriately informing strategies.

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A CAQDAS horror story: when tactics drive strategies

A CAQDAS horror story: when tactics drive strategies
By Christina Silver on Mar 22, 2018 at 06:52 PM

A key principle of the 5LQDA method is that analytic strategies drive software tactics. This ensures that software use is always focused on the objectives of the study and is appropriate to the particular methodological context.

But what happens when software tactics drive analytic strategies? Here is the most extreme example I’ve observed. In my next post I’ll discuss when software tactics can usefully inform analytic strategies without actually driving the process.

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How many codes are needed in a qualitative analysis?

How many codes are needed in a qualitative analysis?
By Christina Silver on Feb 22, 2018 at 08:53 AM in CAQDAS commentary

There is no answer to this perennial question - not even any guidelines. You need as many codes as you need - in other words, however many are needed to capture what's going on in the data in relation to your analytic focus and research objectives. How many depends on what you're using the codes to represent, how you derive them, and how you intend to use them in the analysis. I've done substantial projects with as few as 22 codes, and others that required several hundred.

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My first thoughts on the Five-Level QDA textbooks

My first thoughts on the Five-Level QDA textbooks
By Five Level QDA on Feb 06, 2018 at 07:29 AM in Five-Level QDA issues & ideas

Ann Lewins has been using and teaching CAQDAS packages since 1994 and she pioneered the development of institutional support for their use in the UK, helping to create the CAQDAS Networking Project. Here she shares her first thoughts on the Five-Level QDA textbooks.

Five-Level QDA is a new teaching and learning initiative that aims to fill a huge gap by addressing some of the major dilemmas facing especially new qualitative researchers

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Methods matter - illustrating quality in qualitative analysis and the role of CAQDAS

Methods matter - illustrating quality in qualitative analysis and the role of CAQDAS
By Christina Silver on Jan 06, 2018 at 11:28 AM in CAQDAS commentary

Professor Debra Jackson's post about the Journal of Child & Family Studies' intention to from now on only review and publish quantitative papers and the discussion it prompted on Twitter indicates how important it is for qualitative researchers to fully describe their methods and illustrate the quality of their analysis. Using dedicated CAQDAS packages to facilitate analysis won't necessarily result in higher quality outputs, but they can be used to illustrate process and rigour, and thereby have an important role to play.

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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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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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Testimonials

Thanks again for a great session! I really can't imagine how we could have proceeded without this kind of in depth training. Now on to the real work...
Jennifer Sweeney, MSLS, PhD
School of Education, University of California, Davis