Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis

Kelle, U. (2004). Qualitative Research Practive, chapter Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis, pages 473–489. SAGE Publications, London. Available from:

This article makes an overview of the history and current trend in qualitative data analysis. This research field is a mixture of different approach which span from a mere superficial referential analysis to a semi-quantitative coding analysis.

The author makes the difference between qualitative and quantitative coding, explaining that in qualitative research the coding of textual data does not serve to condensate relevant information and to decide whether a certain person or fact falls under a certain class of events or persons, but simply to make sure that all relevant data can be brought to bear on a point. Qualitative codes are not ‘factual codes’ that denote the absence or the existence of certain facts but ‘referential codes’ they serve as signpost that support the identification of relevant text passages an help to make them available for further interpretation and analysis.

Another interesting link was the idea of using co-occuring codes as ‘heuristic devices’, with the objective to investigate the co-occurrence of the codes as an evidence or counter-evidence of a certain hypothesis. In this case there should be the prerequisite of indipendent testing. Slightly, in using this methodology, the approach moves towards a quantitative text analysis.

Last quote: “the validity of data, methods and research results always remains to a extent a matter of trust, regardless of the research methodology the researchers are committed to.”

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