Qualitative research has become more and more common in the computer science world - the days where computer science was just 0 and 1, mathematical and algorithmic problems are past. Todays computer science includes many different aspects and beside things like algorithms, logic or math there are also aspects like e.g. design, user interaction or process models (like Scrum, V-Model,...) that are objective to scientific research.
At the latest when studying such things the term Qualitative Research comes up: Interviewing experts, users or teams and creating new insights from this gathered data - that is when you need QDA (= Qualitative Data Analysis) Software.
For my master thesis I have done some expert interviews and then came to the part where the gathered material has to be evaluated and interpreted. For this task I checked the web for some software that could help me with the coding and analysis, software that is free to use and working on OSX. Turns out that search was not that easy.
There is a list on Wikipedia that lists some tools, but when you filter that list for:
- working on OSX
- free to use
- not completely outdated (actually i don't care as long as it would be usable on a current macbook)
the variety gets rather scarce and in the end it came down to two tools that i want to mention here:
Is a standalone OSX application that looked quite promising, it is still supported and developed. But after installing it, it was very laggy and reacted just sluggish. I tried using it for one day but could not get it to work in an acceptable way.
This is the solution I found afterwards and sticked with. It is an online tool (so yeah, you have to be fine with having your - maybe sensitive - data in the cloud), is free and as it turns out quite comfortable to use. Furthermore one of the projects initiator is Philipp Mayring, a renown expert in qualitative research.
So if you are in a similar position and looking for a tool that helps you analyzing your qualitative data for any research project you should definitely check that one out!
For the Windows users among you: there is a great tool called Citavi. It is great for managing your scientific library and also capable of doing qualitative data analysis. Furthermore there is a free license for a lot of different universities, so if you are an enrolled student you can request a license for free.