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Qualitative Data Analysis: Working Collaboratively

Resources on conducting qualitative data analysis

Collaborative analysis for qualitative research

Qualitative research in teams can be a powerful way to expand the scope of a research project and to view your data through a variety of lenses (Smagorinksy, 2008). Working in teams, however, can bring challenges for those establishing an analysis strategy and for transparently communicating the analytic process, particularly when team members have access to different types of QDA tools (Davidson et al, 2017). 

Each QDA software varies in its approach to supporting collaborative analysis. You can see some information on collaboration capabilities for major software programs below. I highly recommend that you make a plan for working with your research team before you get too far into your analysis and that you pilot test the process with a small segment of your data.

Choosing software for qualitative research teams

Sharing project files  

For QDA software that is not cloud-based, you will need to develop a plan for sharing and merging project files.  

Working on a cloud-based project 

Some QDA programs have a cloud storage component that let you work with your team on the same online file. If you do use a cloud storage based program, keep in mind that this means putting your data online and you should ensure that this is done in way that meets the guidelines in your IRB protocol or other ethical expectations.  

Resources on collaborative QDA

Cited on this page

Davidson, J., Thompson, S., & Harris, A. (2017). Qualitative data analysis software practices in complex research teams: Troubling the assumptions about transparency and portability. Qualitative Inquiry, 23(10), 779–788.

Smagorinsky, P. (2008). The method section as conceptual epicenter in constructing social science research reports. Written Communication, 25(3), 389–411.