Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Management: Some Recent Innovations in the Management and Analysis of Field Notes
Computer-Assisted Topical Sorting is analogous to the use of key sort cards; the researcher develops coding categories identifying each topic of interest and assigns it a code number. This chapter argues that the contemporary development of computer technology to do what Bernard and Evans term “word crunching” will result in a transformation of qualitative methodology analogous to that which occurred in quantitative methods. It deals with a discussion of the essential characteristics of qualitative methods and some of the difficulties that particularly affect for those who work with large data sets. Data sets of the magnitude require some type of key sort card system or computerization. The chapter describes some efforts to “computerize” qualitative methods and eliminate the obstacles. It explains the general strategy and how it has been applied in a mainframe computer environment. The chapter considers microcomputer applications. There are several options for using microcomputers as qualitative analysis tools.