Qualitative Research Methods & Tools

Choosing QDA Software

Should you use QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis) software?  I wish there were an easy answer to this question -- but it really depends on you and what you want to do.  There is a learning curve to working with any of these software packages. Some very experienced researchers prefer to work on paper and by hand, others use more basic tools like Word and Excel, and others would never do analysis without QDA software. 

The next question people often ask is, if I do use software, which software package should I use?  This is also hard to answer as it really depends on:

  • the types of analysis you want to do,
  • if you are working with a group or alone,
  • if you already have access to a specific tool or will be working with others already using a specific tool,
  • how much money you have! 
  • Also note that each software package has different strengths, so it really depends what you want to do with your data.  

The links below can help you decide.  

Cost of QDA Software (as of 3/2021)

NVIVO  Student $99/12 months (additional $500 for cloud version, additional $500 for transcription); Educators $849 (+ additional $ for cloud/transcription)
Atlas.ti Student $99/2 years (or semester $51) or 30 day cloud license $10; Educators $750 (also lease option and cloud monthly option)
MaxQDA Student $95/2 years (or 6 mos. $47); Educators $500+
DeDoose Monthly fee: 1st month free, Student $10.95/active month; Individual $14.95/active month); price varies by group size


QDA Software at UNM - NVIVO, etc.

QDA (qualitative data analysis) software helps you organize and code your research materials. The library provides access to the NVIVO software package for QDA. NVIVO is installed on 1 PC and 1 Mac in the UNM Centennial Science and Engineering Library's Collaborative Research Commons. The Library's computers are open to any UNM community member with a netid/password.

NOTE If you would like to work on a project using NVIVO in our lab, you will need to bring a HARD DRIVE to save to. Although a flash drive may work, it is not recommended as there is a greater risk of corruption as opposed to saving to an external hard drive.

Departmental computer labs may also have qualitative analysis software available. Check with your department.  Note that UNM Techfinder (which lists what software/hardware is available in different UNM locations) does NOT seem to include qualitative software on its lists (but it does include some quantitative software). 


Online Software Tutorials

The following links lead to online video trainings created by the companies who produce these programs. Note that HyperRESEARCH has a series of hands-on tutorials embedded in the software, which you should be able to use if you have a license.

Also search on YOUTUBE for NVIVO videos, many libraries and academic institutions have created useful videos that are quite good.

The Albuquerque/Bernalillo Public Library subscribes to LinkedIn Learning (formerly LYNDA.COM), a resources which includes online tutorials on how to use NVIVO. If you are a member of the LIbrary you can access this resources by clicking on the RESEARCH drop down tab, choosing ERESOURCES AND DATABASES, and then clicking on the letter "L" in order to find the link to LYNDA.COM. 


QDA software like NVIVO helps you to organize and code your data.  If you are not familiar with coding, watch this short tutorial, Coding Your Data, for an overview and consider doing more reading on qualitative research in general to help you better plan your project.