When digital tools or spaces are involved in the design and implementation of qualitative research projects, the researcher is faced with the need to develop another type of competence, computational. Digital tools and spaces are growing avenues which facilitate data collection and analysis in new ways, such as through online surveys, videoconferencing platforms, social media sites, and qualitative data analysis software (QDAS). To utilize these tools, researchers need both computational competence and transversal skills. These skills allow the researcher (or research team) to transfer their knowledge of designing and implementing qualitative research to the digital realm, assuring trustworthiness and ethical behavior in using a digital tool or space. This essay discusses these two dimensions and how appropriating computational competence and transversal skills through digital tools or spaces may lead to higher-quality research projects.


digital tools and spaces, computational competence, CAQDAS, reflexivity, transversal skills, ethics, trustworthiness

Author Bio(s)

Elizabeth M. Pope, PhD, MA, is the Interim Director of Research Compliance and an Associate Professor in the Educational Research program. Dr. Pope holds degrees in religion, with a specialization in Islam, a PhD in adult education, and the Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies certificate from the University of Georgia. She is a qualitative research specialist. Dr. Pope's research interests lie in adult learning in interfaith encounters, transformative learning, teaching and learning research methods, and reflexivity in qualitative research. As a qualitative methodologist, she is interested in using digital technologies in qualitative research, qualitative meta-syntheses, and conversation/ethnomethodological analysis of interfaith conversations. Dr. Pope is a certified professional senior trainer in ATLAS.ti (qualitative data analysis software). Dr. Pope has taught classes in religion and now teaches educational research courses. Correspondence concerning this manuscript should be addressed to Elizabeth M. Pope, Department of Leadership, Research, and School Improvement, University of West Georgia, 1601 Maple St., Carrollton, GA, 30118. Email: epope@westga.edu.

António Pedro Costa (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4644-5879) is a principal researcher at the Research Centre on Didactics and Technology in the Education of Trainers (CIDTFF), Department of Education and Psychology of the University of Aveiro (Portugal). He holds a Ph.D. in Multimedia in Education and a post-doctorate at the same institution, with the project “Implementation and Evaluation of Instruments for Qualitative Analysis in Research”. He also collaborates with the Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science Laboratory (LIACC) at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto (Portugal). He is one of the researchers/authors of the qualitative data analysis software webQDA (www.webqda.net). He is the Coordinator of the Ibero-American Congress on Qualitative Research (www.ciaiq.org) and the World Conference on Qualitative Research (www.wcqr.info), which gathers more than 700 researchers annually. He is the (co)author of more than 300 publications. Coordinated several projects with public and private funding worth more than 3 million euros.


We have no conflicts of interest to disclose. The research represented in this manuscript was not funded by any supporting agency.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.