Re: qualitative data

Fri, 11 Nov 1994 10:25:17 -0700

> thanks to those of you who replied to my posting of a few weeks ago
> about your favorite theoretical and methodological books and articles
> concerned with qualitative (e.g., ethnographic) data collection,
> analysis, and representation. anyone else who would like to chime in
> would be more than welcome! however, i would also like some advice
> from those who use qualitative data analysis computer programs about
> your favorites and where to get them. This might include things like
> WordCruncher, Zyindex, Nudist(?), etc., but I dont know what's best.
> Do you? Thanks, Eric J. Arnould
> P.S. This is all for a Ph.D. Seminar on Qualitative Data.
I'm analyzing dissertation fieldwork data with NUD*IST (Non-numerical,
Unstructured Data - Indexing Searching and Theorizing. It's creators
swear they will change the name, but there are those of use who favor it.
Makes for racey answering machine messages, i.e. "Hi. We met at the nudist
seminar and...") This is a phenomenal piece of software
- easy to use with capacities that I lack sophistication to fully
take advantage of. Some key features of NUD*IST include on-line (text in
computer) and off-line documents (non-textual or not in computer - good
for non-transcribed tapes video etc) and a memoing system that helps
think/theorize while enmeshed in analysis (and in my experience thus far,
it really does.)

The CAM (Cultural Anthropology Methods) Newsletter has a series of articles
about specific software
(Those you mention as well as Ethnograph, Tally, VANNA and others; I'm
writing a NUD*IST review currently) as well as on considerations for
selecting the right package for you. Sage's Handbook of Qualitative
Research has some relevant articles, esp. the Miles and Weitzman in the

The only caveats I offer about a program like NUD*IST is that it may be
bigger and have more capability (and hence be pricier) than many of us need.
Also, as Bert Pelto points out (CAM Feb 1994:8), anthropologists may have
reasons to opt for programs that require minimal computer power to
facilitate collaboration with those with less technological access.

Sarah Hautzinger
Johns Hopkins