ERIC Number: ED405349
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Sep
Emerging Uses of Computer Technology in Qualitative Research.
Parker, D. Randall
The application of computer technology in qualitative research and evaluation ranges from simple word processing to doing sophisticated data sorting and retrieval. How computer software can be used for qualitative research is discussed. Researchers should consider the use of computers in data analysis in light of their own familiarity and comfort with the technology, the types of data to be collected, and the planned analysis. The general types of programs used by qualitative researchers include word processors, word retrievers, text base managers, code-and-retrieve programs, theory builders, and conceptual network builders. In addition to the main functions that specific programs can carry out, the researcher should consider other criteria in evaluating software. The first criterion is the flexibility of the program, and a second, and fundamental criterion, is the degree to which the program is user friendly. Also to be considered is the match with available hardware. In using computers in data analysis, it is necessary to remember that the technology is the servant and not the expert. Technology use is no substitute for researcher competence or clear thinking. The speed and convenience of the technology may lead the researcher to perform inappropriate tasks, or they may cause the researcher to become fixed on a particular approach to the exclusion of approaches that would be beneficial in the analysis. A list of 18 selected data analysis programs and their distributors is included. (Contains seven references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Association of Louisiana Evaluators (7th, New Orleans, LA, September 26-27, 1996).