Thursday, January 18, 2018

Course Overview

This five-day course for professional anthropologists lays out a broad range of systematic methods for analyzing qualitative data (e.g., text and images) and provides guidance on when the methods should be used. We will cover the basics of qualitative research, including: techniques for identifying themes, tips for developing and using codebooks, and suggestions on how to produce qualitative descriptions, make systematic comparisons, and build and formally test models. The course will concentrate on three major traditions of analysis: grounded theory, content analysis, and semantic network and word-based analysis.

We will emphasize hands-on data analysis exercises to illustrate the complementary strengths of different methods for analyzing qualitative data. Some, but not all, of the methods we cover require computer-based methods. Where appropriate, we will show participants how recent advances in hardware and software can facilitate the recording and transcribing of text and how software can be used to facilitate the analysis of qualitative data. We will focus in particular on working with MAXQDA software. Participants will receive an extended trial version of the software for use in the workshop.

Classes will be divided between lectures and labs where participants will analyze real data. At the end of the course, participants should be able to use the various methods presented in the analysis of their own data and to demonstrate the methods to their students and colleagues.
There are three major traditions of text analysis: grounded theory, content analysis, and semantic network and word-based analysis. These materials here materials cover the basics of qualitative research, including: techniques for identifying themes, tips for developing and using codebooks, and suggestions on how to produce qualitative descriptions, make systematic comparisons, and build and formally test models.

The hands-on data analysis exercises illustrate the complementary strengths of different methods for analyzing qualitative data. Some, but not all, of the methods covered here are computer-based methods. Many advances in hardware and software can facilitate the recording and transcribing of text as well as the analysis of qualitative data. The exercises were developed using MAXQDA software, but any of the popular text management programs (like ATLAS.ti:NVIVO, and others) can be used in studying or teaching these materials.

For an up-to-date review of software for text analysis, visit the CAQDAS website. (CAQDAS (pronounced “cactus) stands for computer assisted qualitative data analysis software.)

*These courses were developed with support from the National Science Foundation, under grants BCS-0422115, BCS-0649817, and BCS-1155736.