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 contact Nick

View Nick's publications

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 

View Christina's LinkedIn profile

View Christina's Twitter account

Contact Christina 

Testimonials

Nick Woolf acted as a consultant to a major study on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Legal System of the State of Utah... Nick's analyses were instrumental in drawing conclusions and allowing us to make constructive recommendations... his timeliness, responsiveness, and research excellence made it a true pleasure to work with him.
Jennifer M. J. Yim, Director,
Utah Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Legal System

Blog

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.

Read more...

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 whats going on in the data in relation to your analytic focus and research objectives. How many depends on what youre using the codes to represent, how you derive them, and how you intend to use them in the analysis. Ive 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 Jacksons 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 wont 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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