ATLAS.ti is a very powerful software for qualitative research and analysis. But deciding to use it comes with its own learning curve. It is best to learn first and choose the more successful tactics from the beginning. Here are 5 tips that could help you understand and use the better tactics to get the best results.
This article presents 5 proven methods to use ATLAS.ti to be a success with your qualitative data analysis.
- ATLAS.ti supports multiple file formats
First and foremost, you can load all your data into ATLAS.ti, including interview/focus group data, field notes, images from fieldwork, observation images or videos and the like. This usually works well since ATLAS.ti supports multiple file formats, including textual, images, audio, video and Google Earch images. Additionally, you can be rest assured that your data would be centrally saved within the ATLAS.ti software itself, for convenience in retrieval when needed.
- ATLAS.ti supports importing of survey data
Well, well… Do you have survey data with qualitative input? If you do, you may load them to ATLAS.ti too for the purpose of analysis. By simply adding a few prefixes to the Excel document prior to importing it to ATLAS.ti, you can let the software know your instructions how to treat a specific column for the purpose of analysis, such as the name of the imported document, grouping them based on the shared characteristics of the values, or simply not adding any prefixes to the columns because the values in that column are open-ended questions, the qualitative part of your survey data. And you might also want to even consider collecting data in the form of Excel (if you haven’t considered so), after learning the great features of survey data analysis in ATLAS.ti 🙂 I for instance now favor survey collection once I know the rich features of ATLAS.ti that could help me with the qualitative analysis of my survey!
- ATLAS.ti supports importing of Evernote data
Whoaa!!! What about Evernote? Have you ever heard of Evernote before? Well, unless you are living completely outside of the digital world, you would know that Evernote is one of the leading note-taking applications in the world. You can simply create a free account at its website, and start typing your notes, scribbling a handwritten note, capture scanned business cards, fetch an HTML website, and many other cool features.
And, guess what?
From within ATLAS.ti, you can import your notes in Evernote for the purpose of analysis within this powerful software!
Imagine the possibilities! You can create notes is your classrooms, during field visits, during data collection, and many other amazing qualitative exercises, with the ability to further analyse your notes in ATLAS.ti. What a great way to use ATLAS.ti for your qualitative analysis of your Evernote data.
- ATLAS.ti supports importing of Twitter data
Another cool feature of ATLAS.ti is the ability to import social media data from Twitter – one of the largest social media applications in the world!
You simply need to identify the keyword or phrases for your analysis, and select few options so that ATLAS.ti will know how you intend the data to be approached. The leading advantage for doing so is that you could explore the keywords, tweets or conversations that are most trending in Twitter, which are relevant for your research project at hand!
That’s so cool, right?
- ATLAS.ti supports importing of bibliographic reference manager data
Last but not least, perhaps you are an avid user of bibliographic reference manager softwares, such as EndNote, Mendeley, RefWorks and few others. In your libraries, you have gathered quite a huge (or small) number of of references and their respective metadata information.
Let’s think about this: Why not export these references to ATLAS.ti for the purpose of literature review, or simply gaining ideas from your references for the purpose of your research project?
Because that is exactly what could be done!! Yay!!
At the moment, this feature is available in ATLAS.ti 8 Windows. But this feature is sooo amazing, that we already have many users actually engage in literature review exercises using ATLAS.ti!
Regardless the type of bibliographic reference managers you may be using, so long they can export all, or some of, your references into the format of XML, then you would be standing right in the chance of importing that XML file into ATLAS.ti for the purpose of content analysis, meta-analysis or simply literature review purpose.
While doing that, why not consider getting ATLAS.ti to group your references into reference groups in ATLAS.ti based on shared characteristics as well? Such as based on year, author, publication type, journal name, or any other shared characteristics depending on the metadata of your references in the reference managers.
You may adjust and start using these tips on how to use ATLAS.ti to assist you with your qualitative data analysis. Carrying this out correctly will provide you with great results, much better than the average results with your manual approach of qualitative data analysis.
This article is written by Dr. Ani Munirah Mohamad, Senior Lecturer at School of Law, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Kedah and Certified ATLAS.ti Senior Professional Trainer, ATLAS.ti GmbH. She may be contacted at animunirah [at] gmail [dot] com