This article introduces the special issue of The Qualitative Report, which brings together five papers exploring the scope, depth, history and future of Qualitative Data Analysis software (QDAS), originally presented at a conference in Rotterdam in 2016. The selected papers provide insights into the history of the QDAS community and future developments of the software packages, uses of QDAS for tasks beyond text analysis, the promise of a common exchange format for researchers using different packages, and strategies for putting to rest, once and for all, persistent misconceptions about QDAS that continue to circulate in the literature and during education and training events. We also suggest a “wish list” for future QDAS developments, including the ability to import e-books, full integration with data mining approaches, and engagement in the Open Science movement.


Qualitative Data Analysis Software, CAQDAS, KWALON

Author Bio(s)

Trena M. Paulus is professor of Qualitative Research Methods at the University of Georgia. She holds degrees in applied linguistics and instructional systems technology and is the author of Digital Tools for Qualitative Research (Sage, 2014). She studies the impact of new technologies on qualitative research methods, specializing in the adaptation of language-based research methodologies such as conversation and discourse analysis to understand online talk and text. She is a founding member of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry's special interest group on Digital Tools for Qualitative Research. Her methodological text, Researching Online Talk: Looking for Insights, Transformation and Learning, will appear in 2018 (Routledge). Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: tpaulus@uga.edu.

Jeanine C. Evers has a background in cultural anthropology and public administration. She has extensive experience conducting qualitative research in both The Netherlands and the Dutch Antilles. She has held several university positions at Dutch universities since 2001, most recently in the criminology department of Erasmus University Rotterdam. She has published several books on qualitative interviewing and qualitative analysis in Dutch (2007-2015). In 2004, she started the KWALON course department for short courses in qualitative methods and data analysis software, which has functioned as Evers Research & Training since 2011. She serves on the board of KWALON, the Dutch Network of Qualitative Research, is a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry and chairs the Rotterdam Exchange Format Initiative (REFI). Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: jcevers@eversresearch.nl.

Franciska de Jong has a background in theoretical linguistics. She moved into the area of computational linguistics and human language technology in 1985 when she joined Philips Research to work on machine translation. At Erasmus University Rotterdam she combines her work as chair of e-Research for the Social Sciences and the Humanities at ESHCC with her role as director of the Erasmus Studio. She is also a professor of e-Research for the Humanities at the University of Utrecht and is the Executive Director of CLARIN ERIC, the European infrastructure for language resources. She has served on the board of the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the Dutch National Library (KB), and the Netherlands e-Science Center.

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