Monday, 5 December 2011

Improving UCT's support for Qualitative Data Analysis Software use.

Written for current and prospective users of qualitative research software at the University of Cape Town.

My blog's NVivo posts aim to provide an example of the use of a qualitative data analysis software (QDAS)* in a South African (or developing world) academic context. Hopefully by posting on the experiences of using NVivo 9 in completing a PhD and working for the ICT Access and Use project, I can stimulate much needed discussion about how students and staff could (or should) be better supported in their QDAS-use.

There is considerable scope at the University of Cape Town (UCT) to improve its support for student and staff QDAS-use: currently, UCT does not do even one of the four key activities listed by David & Jacobson (2008) for QDAS institutional success as exemplified by the University of Massachusetts Lowell! 

Based on my experiences at UCT, the status of these key activities are:
  1. Software is not readily available - UCT (and its Humanities Faculty) does not have an NVivo site license;
  2. Training is hard to access and costly- my NVivo workshop attendance was self-funded;
  3. There are no user-groups - there is no user group at UCT, such as a "Qualitative Research Software Users Network" for students and staff;
  4. There are no forums for open discussion - UCT has no fora dedicated to fostering discussions on technology and qualitative analysis.
As a result, it is unsuprising that there is; limited decision making support in choosing the most appropriate QDAS software to use, little or no materials on QDAS in the library and no readily accessible online guides by UCT researchers on their QDAS-use.

This does present opportunities for UCT's staff and/or students to take the lead with:
  1. Establishing a UCT QDAS Users group;
  2. Setting up a regular QDAS forum;
  3. Documenting how may researchers are, and intend to, use QDAS software;
  4. Using usage statistics to justify:
  5. investment in training staff and students to teach about QDAS and its use;
  1. - b
  2. uying a site license for UCT.
If you are interested in working with me on these actions, please get in touch or add your feedback in the comment box below. 

* Also more commonly known as Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS).

Davidson, Judith and Jacobs, Cynthia. The Implications of Qualitative Research Software for Doctoral Work: Considering the Individual and Institutional Contexts [online]. Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2008: doi: 10.3316/QRJ0802072.
Availability:<;dn=425496252675286;res=IELHSS> ISSN: 1443-9883. [cited 05 Dec 11].

Total pageviews since 2008's launch.


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