The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Beyond Atlas.Ti and NVivo: Using Technology in Qualitative Research

Friday, January 18, 2013: 2:30 PM-4:15 PM
Nautilus 1 (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Carrie A. Moylan, PhD, State University of New York at Binghamton, Amelia Seraphia Derr, PhD(c), University of Washington and Taryn Lindhorst, PhD, University of Washington
In the past 10 years, technologies for capturing large amounts of video, audio and textual data have proliferated.  In addition, recent advances in computing, including tablet computers and smart phones, are creating new and exciting ways to interact with and create knowledge.  In this presentation, we will discuss current technologies that can facilitate the collection, analysis, and presentation of data in qualitative and mixed methods research projects.  The emphasis will be on going beyond familiar data management programs such as Atlas.ti and NVivo to explore a variety of exciting new tools for capturing and working with data, while thinking critically about the strengths and limitations of these new tools. 

Data Collection:  Tablet computers, smart phones, such as iPads and iPhones, and Voice Over Internet Providers such as Skype can greatly assist in all phases of data collection and analysis.  For example, Skype allows users to make free audio and video calls to anywhere in the world using the internet, opening up new possibilities for conducting interviews and collaborating with colleagues.  The portability and multiple-functionality of these devices make them ideal tools for use in the field.   With thousands of applications available for free or for a low cost, these devices can function as digital audio recorders, cameras, accelerometers, location markers, and virtual notebooks for field notes.  New systems are being developed that will allow users to create data collection tools that will run as smartphone applications.  Options abound for syncing content across devices and standard computers, further expanding the utility and convenience of these technologies.  In this presentation we will discuss tablet and smart phone applications, such as mind-mapping applications, that can assist in the process of collecting qualitative data. 

Data Analysis:  We will demonstrate a variety of free or low cost programs that enhance the qualitative research endeavor.   Many researchers conduct interviews that will require transcription for analysis.  We will discuss transcription methods such as Dragon Naturally (a voice recognition program) that can be used by members of research teams as well as provide a listing of transcription services.    We will also review software available that can aid in the analysis of visual, auditory and textual data with a special focus on Web 2.0 applications such as Dedoose.  Dedoose, designed by qualitative researchers, is well-suited to mixed methods and interpretive research, allows for seamless coordination with collaborators, and includes a variety of tools to enhance the analytic process.

Data Presentation:  New options now exist for the creative representation of some qualitative data.  For instance, document word clouds, shared word diagrams, and theme maps can illustrate findings in some forms of analysis.  We will also demonstrate Scrivener, a flexible word processing tool for organizing the writing process.

Participants can expect to leave with a variety of resources and ideas for how to apply new technologies to all stages of their research.

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