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​How to Choose Data Analysis Software

A comparative guide to qualitative and quantitative data analysis software.

Qualitative Analysis Software

 

  Atlas.ti Dedoose NVivo RQDA Sci2 Tool
Coding Language(s)    

 

R

 

User Interface Language(s)

English, Spanish & German

Compatible with most languages

English, Simplified Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese & Spanish

Compatible with most languages including simplified Chinese

 

Operating System(s)

Windows

Mac OS X

Linux

Windows

Mac OS X

Linux

Windows

Mac OS X

Windows

Mac OS X

Linux

Windows

Mac OS X

Linux

Cost

Student License (6 months): $51

Student License (2 years): $99

Standard License, Single User: $1,840

Standard License, Single User: $12.95 monthly

Student License (12 month): $120

Student License (full): $690

Standard License: $1,380

Free/Open Source

Free/Open Source

 

Atlas.ti

Atlas.ti is a qualitative data analysis software with the purpose of revealing meanings and relationships within complex datasets. Typical users include anthropologists, universities, and profit/nonprofit corporations. Free trial available

Pros Cons
  • Includes numerous built-in functions for coding, retrieving, analyzing, visualizing and exporting data
  • Works well for team work as well as project merging
  • User interface intuitive to use with well placed icons and functions
  • Google Earth is embedded in software
  • Help service is responsive to inquiries and suggestions
  • Projects cannot be assessed at the same time by multiple users
  • User interface search tool does not allow for integrated searches of both text and coded data. Must be done individually 
  • Software does not internally store all sources of imported data. Therefore, the locations of original data files must be kept manually
  • Up until recently, merging data capabilities were only available in Windows version, not Mac. The recent Mac update now includes data merging, however some bugs are still being evaluated
  • Windows and Mac versions have visibly different layouts

 

Import and Export File Capabilities

Import: Text files (.csv, .doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf, .txt), Graphic files (.jpeg, .gif) Video files (.mp4) & audio formats

Export: Excel files (.xls, .xlsx), Web-based files (.html, .xml) & additional formats (.sav)


View the Atlas.ti video tutorial below to learn more about basic coding techniques and how to create and assign codes. Closed captions are available. 

Dedoose

Dedoose is a data analysis web-based software, that allows for easy integration of both qualitative and quantitative datasets. Typical users include psychologists, sociologists, social scientists, health researchers, market researchers, and policy researchers. Free trial available

Pros Cons
  • Simple and easy to use user interface
  • Works well for project collaboration 
  • Excellent for mixed methods 
  • Has online user interface with mobile accessibility
  • Web based program only. Requires Internet access
  • Data security concerns with web based program
  • Requires Adobe Flash Player
  • Limited help features  

 

Import and Export File Compatibility 

Import: Excel files (.xls, .xlsx), Text files (.doc, .docx, .txt, .rtf, .csv, .pdf), Video files (.pm4) & Audio files (.mp3, .wav, .m4a, .wma)

Export: Excel files (.xls, .xslx) & Text files (.doc, .docx, .txt, .csv, .pdf)


 

NVivo

NVivo is a qualitative and mixed methods research software to organize and analyze data. Typical users include anthropologists and policy researchers. Free trial available

Pros Cons
  • Includes numerous built-in functions for coding, retrieving, analyzing, visualizing and exporting data
  • Works well for team work as well as project merging
  • Teamwork can be done simultaneously and allows for real time sharing
  • Easily accessible on mobile devices
  • Help service is responsive to inquiries and suggestions
  • Some functions are not intuitive for first time users
  • Importing large datasets can take a large amount of time or may result in an error message
  • Files from other programs are not always imported accurately (i.e. missing data, change in layout)
  • Does not conduct automatic transcription of interviews
  • Software for Mac OS X has limited functionality compared to software for Windows

 

Import and Export File Compatibility

Import: Excel files (.xls, .xlsx), Text files (.doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf, .txt), Graphic files (.bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, .tiff), Video files (.mpg, .mpeg, .mpe, .mp4, .avi, .wmv, .mov, .qt, .3gp, .mts, .m2ts), Audio files (.mps, .m4a, .wma, .wav) & Web-based files

Export: Excel files (.xls, .xlsx) & Text files (.doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf)

 


View the NVivo video tutorial below to learn more about the beginning steps of using NVivo. Closed captions are available. 

RQDA

RQDA is a free qualitative analysis software, developed as a package of R Project. Typical users include economists, sociologists, and marketing researchers. Download for free

Pros Cons
  • Free / open source
  • User interface is straightforward and easy to use for first time learners
  • Works collaboratively with R and R-studio software
  • Only supports data in plain text format
  • There has been little recent software maintenance or development
  • History of crashing on Mac OS X operating system
  • Requires download of R or R-studio (both open source)

 

Import and Export File Compatibility 

Import: Text files (.pdf, .txt). Note: Only PDF highlights can be imported)

Export: .rqda file format


 

Sci2 Tool 

The Science of Science Tool (Sci2) is a qualitative analysis tool for the study of science. Typical users include scientists, social science researchers, and federal agencies. Download for free

Pros Cons
  • Provides a platform for preparation, analysis, or visualization of data.
  • Includes a variety of advanced analysis algorithms for temporal, topical, geospatial, and network data
  • Capable of graph generation with aging, scaling, random, and other specification
  • Free / open source
  • Found to have numerous software bugs. However, the official website provides a platform to report these for future development. 
  • Specifically developed for the sciences; not as practical for additional areas of research

Import and Export File Compatibility 

Import: Text files (.csv, .net, .mat, .bib), Endnote files (.enw), Edgelist files (.edge), Graphic files (.nwb), Web-based files (.xml, .graphml) & additional formats (.isi, .scopus, .nsf)

Export: Text files (.pdf, .mat, .net), Web-based files (.xml, .graphml) & Graphic files (.jpg, .ps, .nwb)


 

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Qualitative Analysis Resources