Everyone has a different approach when it comes to working on major research projects – but however you like to work, a master’s or PhD thesis can be especially challenging. In this article, we’ve summarized some key pieces of advice to help you ace your dissertation and reach that finish line.
Getting an early start and staying organized will make sure things don’t get too stressful. But think about the amount of data you’ll need to analyze: texts, images, audio and video files, websites, tweets, focus group discussions or survey responses!
With all this data, you can quickly find yourself drowning in a sea of textbooks, papers, bookmarks, notes and highlighted sections. No matter how organized you are, keeping track of all this information can become a nightmare. It’s certainly not the fun part of your research journey.
Let technology help you! MAXQDA is a world-leading software package for qualitative and mixed methods research, and the only leading QDA software to offer identical features on Windows and Mac. It can help you organize, summarize, and analyze your data – quickly and easily. Best of all, MAXQDA offers you a wide range of tools and functions that can be applied to any type of qualitative and mixed methods research – including but not limited to grounded theory studies, literature reviews, exploratory market research, qualitative and quantitative text analyses, and diverse mixed methods approaches.
Data analysis with MAXQDA in 5 steps!
Step 1: Import & Organize
MAXQDA gives you the freedom to analyze different types of data all at once. Simply import all the data you need into MAXQDA. Whether it’s a simple text document, ready-made transcripts with time stamps, an Excel table of survey results, a PDF file, image, website, audio or video recording, SPSS data file, bibliographic record, or focus group transcript – even YouTube comments and Twitter data. MAXQDA lets you easily organize your information into document groups – all data at one place only!
Step 2: Transcription
MAXQDA has built-in tools for professional transcriptions of audio and video files. Of course, you can also import transcripts you’ve created in a separate program and link your transcripts to the original media file.
Step 3: Analyze
And thanks to its intuitive 4-window interface, you’ll always have a clear overview of all your data.
|Simple and intuitive – MAXQDA’s 4-window interface|
Assigning categories or keywords to text segments, image sections, or video clips is called “coding” in MAXQDA. Coding is an important step in starting your analysis – and MAXQDA helps you to effectively organize and conduct the coding process.
MAXQDA’s automatic coding option lets you analyze your data even more efficiently. Audio and video recordings can also be coded directly without transcribing them. And the focus group analysis tools allow you to analyze the statements of individual participants.
Step 4: Write memos, summarize or paraphrase
Great ideas will often occur to you when reading or coding your data. Write notes while you work and attach them anywhere in your project – to text passages, to codes, or to the data itself. Summarize the most important data points or paraphrase them to develop a coding system. With the Memo Manager, Summary Grids, and Summary Tables you’ll never lose track of your progress!
Step 5: Visualize
MAXQDA offers you a variety of visualization tools that let you display complex content in a clear and transparent format. These options are especially useful not only for reporting your findings, but also for locating patterns of similarity and difference, and emerging trends and development through comparative visualization of your data.
MAXQDA’s visualization tools include:
- Target group comparisons
- Frequency and relationship tables and charts
- Word and code clouds
- Document and code maps
- Complex mapping tool
Different types of export and report options allow you to export all your data into common formats like Excel, Word, HTML, SPSS or other. With the free MAXQDA Reader, your projects can be also opened in a read-only version – this can help make your analysis process easily discernible.