I spent some time the other day with Dr Dan Kaczynski ( a visiting scholar at UTS from Uni of West Florida) exploring the advantages of using Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS) - in particular NVivo.
Well - I must say - I'm gobsmacked! I had previously looked at NVivo as a fairly basic system that really wouldn't add any value to my data analysis - which was looking like a long manual process....how wrong can I be!!!
Firstly - the debate about qualitative data analysis and research methods for textual analysis lagging behind quantitative practice is probably fairly well grounded - just how many software titles can you cite....? Exactly!
Dan has a short paper "Qualitative Research Analysis for the Future" to be published in November 2005 issue of GradNews (it's not there yet...) that succintly positions the debate of methods and the blending of theoretical orientations. He believes that the QDAS provides researchers with sophisticated options and features for analysis that could transform educational research in the future!
So - now I'm trying to get access to NVivo. It's not a cheap piece of software - even with academic rates - but I'm working on that....pretty excited by the functionality Dan showed me!