Carrying out a computer-aided thematic content analysis with ATLAS.ti

by Susanne Friese, Jacks Soratto and Denise Pires

Working Papers WP 18-02
March 2018
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

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There are many different methods in qualitative research and also many ways to approach the analysis of qualitative data. Even though nowadays, the use of Computer-Aided Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) is widespread, usually in the books and papers that describe an approach, it is not explained how to implement the analysis using software; it is assumed that this is self-explanatory. This often leads to frustration when using an analysis package ((Weber 2014), up to the point where the analysis is given up and researchers return to paper and pencil. To work with CAQDAS, one must first know which requirements the chosen analysis approach has. Then one needs to be familiar with the features that the software offers. And thirdly, one needs to know how the individual methodological steps can be implemented. This paper shows how the phases of a selected Thematic Content Analysis (TCA) can be realized in a software-aided analysis. The sample project that is used here for illustration purposes was provided by Jacks Soratto and Denise Pires. It is about job satisfaction and the dissatisfaction of professionals working in the Family Health System in Brazil. The implementation is described by the CAQDAS expert Susanne Friese. Before presenting the implementation, the different approaches of TCA are presented, and the individual analysis phases are explained. This paper is the second in a series that describes how a qualitative data analysis approach can be implemented using computerized qualitative data analysis software. The first one was on how to conduct a Grounded Theory analysis with ATLAS.ti (Friese, 2016).

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