Most researchers turn to powerful and expensive general purpose software tools equipped for different kinds of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis (CAQDA) such as Atlas.ti, MaxQDA or NVivo (for a detailed review of the latter see a recent blog post by Jane Lê). In addition, we can observe a growing number of open access tools for more specific approaches to CAQDA based on open source software frameworks. QCAmap is such an example of an open tool devoted to a very particular approach of qualitative data analysis, that is, Philipp Mayring’s (2014) Qualitative Content Analysis (link to open access full text).
Mayring advocates a rather positivist approach to qualitative data analysis, endorsing quantification similar to Lee’s (1999: 121) imperative to “count the countable” as well as suggesting the use of theoretically deduced coding categories. Accordingly, the QCAmap software is comparably restrictive with regard to the logic and structure of data analysis. While this feature might be a problem for more grounded and thus more iterative approaches, it has also the benefit of following a clear and transparent logic. The latter may be particularly helpful in teaching contexts, where time for iterative code development is often limited and clarity in category development is a particular virtue.
- Lee, Thomas W. (1999). Using qualitative methods in organizational research. Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Mayring, Ph. (2014). Qualitative content analysis. Theoretical foundation, basic procedures and software solution (free download via Social Science Open Access Repository SSOAR, URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-395173