Qualitative Research without money: Experiences with a home-grown Qualitative Content Analysis tool
Experience with young research students in South Africa, most of whom have few or no resources and are not supported by research infrastructure by their universities, shows that they have great difficulty in learning the techniques of qualitative research. Beginning as a simple idea, the development of an ad-hoc package intended to assist with the coding and categorisation of qualitative data led to a useful suite of facilities that contributed to at least four projects, one of which had the texts of 52 interviews to work with. It proved possible to import, structure and organise the research data in a way that then permitted useful export of charts, tables and text into papers and theses. With appropriate skills, researchers also found it possible to apply their own SQL queries to data that was now well structured and fully normalised (in terms of database design). Comparison with two commercial packages shows that many of the proclaimed features of the commercial packages were replicated, and in at least one instance they seem to have been exceeded.
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