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Free CAQDAS Software
Listed below are some good examples of high-performance CAQDAS platforms that are free of charge. Some have graphical user interfaces (GUI) and others do not. Some investigation will be required to determine what will best suite your needs. Note that two of these free programs, Aquad and RQDA, make use of the powerful statistical analysis package R. While there is only a plug-in for Aquad, you will need to install R to use RQDA. R is free to download and supported by a vast user community.
Please see the Introduction to R Library Guide for more information on getting started with R.
Aquad is a platform developed in Germany (you will have to translate the website, which is also in German) that supports text of any kind, audio, video, and image files. There is a plugin available to use with R, the open source statistical analysis software.
Coding Analysis Toolkit (CAT)
CAT was designed to utilize keystrokes rather than the mouse as a coding assistant. CAT can import an ATLAS.ti project to parse quantitatively, though it has a coding mechanism built into itself as well. CAT won the Best Research Software award from the Information Technology & Politics in the American Political Science Association in 2008. CAT is Web based.
Compendium models itself as an application to visualize the connections between information and ideas. It is very visually based and offers similar functionality as most CAQDAS platforms. Please note: the program and code are still available, but are no longer maintained as of 2014.
qcoder is an R library for qualitative analysis hosted on GitHub.
QDA Miner Lite
A "lite" version of the proprietary software, QDA Miner Lite has a slightly limited functionality. You can still perform the basic functions of the full version but don't have some of the more advanced options. You can see all the differences in the side by side comparison.
RQDA is another package from the exciting R Project, a statistical analysis platform that has developed a constantly growing community of users and developers that is designing all sorts of software for use in data analysis. What a plugin to such a power statistics program means is that implementing quantitative data to your project will be seamless and effective.
Taguette is an open source qualitative analysis program that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers, as well as in-browser. A quick tutorial on how to get started can be found at their website, linked above. You must have Python 3 and Calibre on your computer in order to successfully download and use Taguette. The online version requires you to register for a free account.
Weft was a project by a student who was fed up with the pricing of many of the proprietary software providers. Weft provides solid coding capabilities of text in addition to full text search using Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT). There is no visualization capabilities. Unfortunately, Weft has been abandoned, so there is no support from the developers. Probably best used by researchers only looking to analyze text.
What About the Others?
Don't see your favorite CAQDAS platform here? Let us know about it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your favorite CAQDAS platform.