Training in the Five-Level QDA® method

We provide various bespoke and open-registration training courses which are customised to your needs. The sections below describe our:

  • Open-registration workshops
  • Customized face-to-face training
  • Online training & coaching

Mastering qualitative software analysis with the Five-Level QDA® method

2 day workshops in London, UK in early 2018 focusing on using the Five Level QDA method to ensure your use of software is driven by the objectives of your research project.

These small workshops will enable you to develop the expertise you need to produce high quality analysis, whatever your methodology.

Follow the links below to book your space on the workshops.


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 



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


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


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.


"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.


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.


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.


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.