Qualitative analysis software is on the rise - there are now a number of tech firms that offer qualitative data analysis so it is important that you know what you are looking for when you choose a company. It may seem daunting at the start, but once you immerse yourself in what software is out there, you soon become literate in all the features that qualitative data analysis software has to offer.
What to look for when choosing qualitative data analysis software?
This is a collaborative effort
Choose a company that you know you can work with - if you are new to qualitative data analysis then choose a company that is patient and can clearly explain and communicate terminology that from the outset may seem confusing. Always avoid platforms where the company attempts to lock you into a long-term package until you've trialled them - normally it's when you launch a campaign that you see a companies true worth. If possible you want to be able to do a test run of a project before you pay any money.
Is it easy to use?
The last thing you need as researchers' is software that is complex to learn; analysis software should be intuitive and enhance your research - crucially, it should be easy to navigate and simple to extract information. When choosing a software platform consider whether there is the option to create your campaign yourself rather than using the companies internal team. This may cost money in the short term due to training and support, but in the long term, you'll be able to create research campaigns more frequently and quickly.
Troubleshooting and finding solutions are key
For many, this may be the first time you have considered qualitative data analysis software which is why it is important that you choose a platform where you receive top quality support. This isn't just in terms of the build, but also in terms of their understanding of qualitative data analysis. You need to choose a company that understands research and what it is that you are trying to achieve with your research. The software applications available for qualitative research is growing; the technology is advancing - we are all students - that is why it is important that you have support where it's not just finding solutions, but with a partner who will work with you to discover the best methods to execute the gathering of your qualitative research.
Choosing the correct software package
(Factors that will have an influence)
Right from the outset, there will obviously be factors that influence your decision when choosing the qualitative data analysis software for your project; below we outline some of the major factors and break them down in depth for researchers who are on the search for a platform.
How much should I pay for a platform with qualitative analysis?
Although it probably shouldn't be, a fundamental factor will be the cost and the limitations of your budget - there will be a direct correlation between the level of qualitative data analysis that you are wanting to produce, the duration of your campaign, the methods deployed and size of your sample. The good news is that qualitative data analysis software is highly accommodating and can be adapted towards your budget so do not be disheartened if an initial meeting with a company results in a sizeable fee - it's all about ascertaining what you can achieve with the money you have.
Every project is different...
The duration will be a factor when researchers are planning their campaigns. Longer doesn't always mean better, focus more on your business requirements and what you are looking to discover. In terms of cost, it's a balancing act; if you are planning a long-term community (in some cases up to 12+months) with a high volume of users the cost will increase. However, there is no reason why costs cannot be lower in a long-term campaign if you reduce the number of participants and some of the tools in the analysis software.
Short-term, online campaigns where only the essentials are deployed will inevitably be cheaper for researchers - factor in the amount of video you want to use and the effect it may have on your budget...
In the new era of qualitative research and its associated tools, video is key - it transforms the method in which we conduct interviews, focus groups and surveys; it provides incredibly rich content which you can analyze for themes, patterns and processes. The findings have the potential to transform services, business operations or education institutions - but at what cost?
Like many things in research, the cost will be determined by the volume of your sample. If you are planning a campaign and expecting a high number of users whilst still wanting to use video analysis, you'll need to consider how you organize and structure your sample. Different qualitative analysis software will calculate their costs in their own ways, but the general rule will be if you have a high volume of users recording minutes upon minutes of content, expect your bill to creep up.
Check your packages Terms & Conditions
(Flexibility is key).
Ensure that your campaign has a certain level of flexibility and Be aware of variable costs - in our experience, a project may need extra days bolted on - realistically this should not come at an extra cost as research is all about being organic and following where it's taking you.