Five-Level QDA Method


The Five-Level QDA method is a pedagogy for harnessing computer-assisted qualitative data analysis, or CAQDAS, packages powerfully while remaining true to the emergent spirit of qualitative and mixed-methods research. The method transcends methodologies, specific CAQDAS packages, and teaching modes, by explicating the common process that experienced researchers and CAQDAS experts unconsciously adopt when harnessing this software powerfully. The method focuses on the difference between strategies and tactics, and specifically, the contradictory nature of analytic strategies (which are to varying degrees iterative and emergent) and software tactics (which are inherently step-by-step and algorithmic). The method is concerned with the most effective way of managing this contradiction. Avoidance and compromise are problematic ways to manage the contraction, and the method instead transcends the contradiction by translating between strategies and tactics. Translation is a five-step process that makes explicit what experienced researchers and CAQDAS experts unconsciously perform. Once learned and practiced, the process rapidly becomes unconscious and second nature, avoiding a lengthy trial-and-error process for using the software powerfully. After presenting the principles and practice of the method, this entry ends by describing four case studies of qualitative research projects that were undertaken using the Five-Level QDA approach using three different CAQDAS packages.

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