Christine A. Barry (1998)
'Choosing Qualitative Data Analysis Software: Atlas/ti and Nudist
Sociological Research Online, vol. 3, no. 3, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/3/3/4.html>
To cite articles published in Sociological Research Online, please reference the above information and include paragraph numbers if necessary
Received: 28/5/98 Accepted: 3/9/98 Published: 30/9/98
'The only program in its category [Atlas/ti] is not a clear winner over, is Nudist and the choice between the two is not clear-cut. You will have to weigh up the strengths and weaknesses and match them against your needs.' (Weitzman and Miles, 1995)
|Atlas/ti's strengths||Nudist's weaknesses|
|+ Visually attractive / creative |
+ All features on screen at once
+ Well designed interface
+ No limits on units of coding: can
code any amount of text as one unit
+ Hypertext links between data
/codes /documents (i.e. click
on one jump to the other)
+ Conceptual network displays
which can be manipulated
+ Can include text segments and
memos in network displays
+ Assists creative and visualised
+ Memos can be multiply linked
+ Can process audio and visual
+ Best used on screen
|- Less attractive/smooth
- Less immediate: several steps to
- Fewer links between data/
- Memos can only be linked to
codes, one per code
- Units of coding have to be decided in
advance and used throughout project
- No option to print or annotate 'tree'
hierarchical display of codes
- No option to develop visual
relationships between data apart
|Nudist's strengths||Atlas/ti's weaknesses|
|+ Hierarchical structure which can be re-organised
+ Project management tools e.g. progress
log, lists of codes plus definitions
+ Structure makes it easy to familiarise and apply
+ Memos can be searched and coded
+ First pass coding can be re-coded
+ Documents can be annotated, edited or appended
+ System closure: results of searches become codes
which can be memoed and searched
+ Can switch between on- screen and paper coding
+ Systematic exploration of ideas, questions in the
data with sophisticated searching
+ More limited structure may provoke less anxiety
|- Unstructured, few
loose structure and uncertainty
- Limited searching capacity
- Limited case and project
- Can't alter or annotate files
|+ Good for different: data types, case |
types, longitudinal research, large
samples, mixed qual/quant studies
+ Multiple researchers/multi site projects
can repeatedly merge separate coding
+ Easier to keep track of progress with
project management tools
+ Case management allows analysis of
complex linked case data
+ Sophisticated searching, 18 options,
including matrices comparing text for
sub-categories of 2 codes
+ Command files allow automation of all
+ Can input data in tabular form
+ Transferable Windows to Mac systems
|- Only simple / Boolean
- Multiple research teams have to work on
same copy / site
- Not Mac compatible
- No option to automate commands except
|+/- Suitable for simple projects, |
but lacking ease and creativity
|+ Good for straightforward, simple |
sample, one timepoint projects
+ Probably easier to learn the basics
|PREFERRED SOFTWARE STRUCTURE|
|Sequential / structured / verbal||Combination|
' The brain searches for the best solution to a problem through a unique combination of order and randomness that optimises the scope of that search.' (Torre, 1995: p. 186)
'Within psychology there is a considerable evidence of personality correlates that cluster within people who seem to have more of a capacity to beat the chaos odds than others. Traits such as open-mindedness, creativity, imagination, tolerance for ambiguity, brain hemispheric equipotentiality and systems sensitivity.' (Loye, 1995: p. 351)
2Hypertext structure relies on non linear links and is best demonstrated by the structure of the world-wide web. Weaver and Atkinson cite Landow's (1992) definition of hypertext : 'Chunks of text are joined together in meaningful ways by electroinc links, which are activated by "soft buttons". The latter offer the hypertext reader various pathways or trails through the text. As such, text in a hypertext sytem is multisequential, multilinear, and multidimensional' (p. 113). You have just experienced a hypertext link if you located this footnote by pressing on the highlighted text of the word 'hypertext' in the main body of the paper.
3This project is funded by the Department of Health. My co-investigators are Professor Nick Barber, Professor Colin Bradley, Dr Nicky Britten and Dr Fiona Stevenson.
4Clare Tagg has written an article illustrating the different uses of Inspiration and Decision Explorer with NUD*IST. Click here to access <http://www.taggoram.co.uk/nudist/nudinsde.html>.
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