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ATLAS.ti : Home

A tutorial to get started with the computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) program ATLAS.ti.

What Is It?

ATLAS.ti is a powerful data analysis and management tool that, on its most basic level, functions kind of like a highlighter.  When you are reading, highlighting things that strike you as interesting or writing notes to yourself is often good analytical technique.  So if ATLAS is essentially just a highlighter, why use it?  Well, imagine if you could highlight and take notes in a variety of books, articles, sound bites, videos, aggregate all those markings and make them searchable, create charts to visualize ideas, export reports in a variety of formats and keep all of your stuff organized while you make connections and advance your research.  

Qualitative Research

Simply put, qualitative research is analyzing words rather than numbers, numbers being the meat and potatoes of quantitative research.  Put another way, qualitative research investigates the why and how rather than just the what, where, and when.  For example, if a researcher has interviewed 100 people and has transcripts of those interviews, he or she can look for patterns in the responses from the interviewees to try and gain a deeper understanding of that population's perceptions of the questions that were asked. ATLAS.ti helps to organize your analysis and make connections within your analysis, as well as making the process of evaluating resources and material much simpler.  

Why Use It?

If you are performing a study using qualitative methods encompassing a large amount of data, a tool such as ATLAS.ti can make your life much easier.  The data management capabilities of software such as ATLAS can really help move your research forward.  

Accessing ATLAS.ti

Where is this Program Available?

ATLAS.ti is supported in the Scholarly Commons and the Room 314 Lab. You can drop in between 9 and 6 Monday through Friday, or email us for a consultation at

ATLAS.ti Version

As of June 2018, the Scholarly Commons hosts ATLAS.ti version 8.0.43.

Free to Use Alternative


RQDA is a R package for Qualitative Data Analysis, a free (free as freedom) qualitative analysis software application (BSD license). It works on Windows, Linux/FreeBSD and the Mac OSX platforms. RQDA is an easy to use tool to assist in the analysis of textual data. At the moment it only supports plain text formatted data. All the information is stored in a SQLite database via the R package of RSQLite. The GUI is based on RGtk2, via the aid of gWidgetsRGtk2. It includes a number of standard Computer-Aided Qualitative Data Analysis features. In addition it seamlessly integrates with R, which means that a) statistical analysis on the coding is possible, and b) functions for data manipulation and analysis can be easily extended by writing R functions. To some extent, RQDA and R make an integrated platform for both quantitative and qualitative data analysis.

Operating Systems

This guide is based on the Windows version of ATLAS.ti 8.0, the version hosted in the Scholarly Commons. If you are using a Mac, please see ATLAS.ti's Quick Tour for a Mac version.


Creative Commons License

Except where otherwise indicated, original content in this guide is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license. You are free to share, adopt, or adapt the materials. We encourage broad adoption of these materials for teaching and other professional development purposes, and invite you to customize them for your own needs. 

Contact the Scholarly Commons

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Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library
SSHEL (Room 101)
Main Library
1408 W. Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61801
General Telephone: (217) 333-2305 Information Services Desk Telephone: (217) 244-1864