This introductory note stems from the organization of a special edition of articles from the World Conference on Qualitative Research. Some researchers put forth criticisms about using software in qualitative data analysis, such as losing control in the coding process and leading researchers to use a particular method of analysis according to tool characteristics. Moreover, a number of the scientists believe that the advantages of using specific tools in data analysis are numerous, such as the analysis of an enormous amounts of data, but doing research involves personal or institutional aspects that enter the field of ethics. In the case of specific qualitative data analysis software, it would be possible to list a set of principles that would begin with the organization and importing of data, proceed with their interpretative and descriptive codification followed by questioning the data, up to exporting results to their written dissemination. Such principles could set the boundaries or define ethics in the use of software, referring to any research activity that touches what is right or wrong, good or bad, moral or immoral. This text is in line with the belief shared by others that work studies that can be performed on computational ethics will influence not only the use of Qualitative Data Analysis software but also their development.


Qualitative Research, CAQDAS, Research Ethics

Author Bio(s)

António Pedro Costa holds a PhD in Education Multimedia (University of Aveiro). He is a Researcher in Research Centre on Didactics and Technology in the Education of Trainers (CIDTFF) at the University of Aveiro. He also collaborates with the Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science Laboratory (LIACC) at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto. He is one of the webQDA (www.webqda.net) software authors/researchers. He coordinates the Iberian-American Congress on Qualitative Research (www.ciaiq.org) and the World Conference on Qualitative Research (www.wcqr.info) that annually gather more than 400 researchers. Correspondence regarding this paper can be addressed directly to: António Pedro Costa at apcosta@ua.pt.

António Moreira holds a PhD in Foreign Languages Teaching Methodologies from the University of Aveiro, where he performs teaching and research activities. With several books, chapters, articles and educational software published in Portugal and abroad, he coordinated the Nónio Século-XXI Local Competence Center, the Digital Contents Laboratory of the University of Aveiro, and the Specialisation Training Courses and Master Course in Multimedia in Education. With main involvement in post-graduation, he is the Director of the Doctoral Program in Multimedia in Education and his main research interests are Cognitive Flexibility Hypertexts, Communities of Practice and Random-Access Instruction. From late 2010 until early 2015 he was the Director of the Department of Education, University of Aveiro.

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