When QualiCoder is finished, this page will show a tutorial that illustrates every step of the analysis in detail. For now, some basic explanations of the QualiCoder system are provided.
If you open QualiCoder, it shows the Project Overview, showing a list of your projects in the left-hand panel. You can then click one of these projects to open it, or create a new project by clicking the green plus () to the right of 'Projects' in the left-hand panel. In practice, a project will correspond to a study, containing data and codes pertaining to one specific topic. Within this project, you can then add and code your data. Upon project creation, QualiCoder shows its Project Home. You can always return to this Project Home by clicking the project's name, displayed in the top-left corner below the QualiCoder logo. The Project Home allows you to access to different modules for coding and managing your project. It also allows you access the sections where you can publish your project, view the project logs, and manage the project members. These sections are accessed using the tabs at the top of the right-hand panel. If you need to return to the Project Overview, just click the Home link () at the top-left of the screen.
Sources (module: 'Manage sources')
Sources are your data. Usually (but not necessarily), these sources are transcriptions of interviews. To transcribe audio, you can use for example VLC (open source) or Listen-n-write (freeware). If you use VLC, you can adjust the playback speed of the audio in the Playback menu (note that you can use the "Playback > Speed > Slower" option repeatedly to slow down further). You can also set a shortcut key to jump backwards in the Preferences, in the Tools menu. To do this, in the Preferences menu, go to section 'Hotkeys' and configure the desired key combination as 'Global' hotkey. Global hotkeys can also be used from other applications, which means that it is not necessary to switch back to VLC when transcribing. Of course, you can also set global hotkeys for pausing and playing the audio. If you do a lot of transcription, it may be worthwhile to invest in a foot pedal, which allows you to control your computer without using your hands. Additionally, you may choose to let a professionale transcription agency handle the transcription. They typically charge between 1-2 euros per minute of interview. Note that safeguarding your participants' privacy becomes very important if you work with another company.
At this stage, transcriptions can only be entered as 'plain text' (without any layout information). However, you can use basic layout functionality once the source is stored (bold, italic, and underline). To do this, after having saved the source, simply select the text you wish to underline or make bold or italic; you will then be able to apply this effect using a bar at the bottom of the screen. This allows you to, for example, make statements and questions from the interviews easily recognizable. To add or manage sources, use the 'Manage sources' module. When you have added one or more sources into Qualicoder, these can be coded with casecodes and regular codes.
Casecodes (modules: 'Manage casecodes' and 'Start casecoding')
Casecodes are special codes that reflect who (which 'case') said something, which is very useful if your sources are transcribed focus groups. Casecodes enable you to see only those parts of the source that belong to a specific person. In addition, casecodes can have attributes such as gender or age, which enable you to view how often fragments are coded for a specific combination of each code and attribute option. To create a casecode, go to the 'Start casecoding' module, select a source, and then select a fragment of text. At the left-hand side, a panel will appear. Type the name of the new casecode in the text field in that left-hand panel. You can also casecode a fragment with an existing casecode by clicking it in the list below the text field. To manage existing casecodes, use the 'Manage casecodes' module.
Attributes (module: 'Manage attributes')
Attributes are variables that provide information about your cases, such as gender or age. There are two types of attributes: multiple choice (one option is selected out of a set you predefine) and open answer (any text or numerical string can be entered). In addition to enabling you to keep track of your sample, attributes also allow you to view how often a given code occurs for a given attribute option. For example, you can compare the codes used in interviews with men and women. This overview of code and attribute intersections is available through the Overviews module.
Codes (modules: 'Manage codes' and 'Start coding')
Codes are, of course, what QualiCoder is about. The type of qualitative analysis QualiCoder is developed for consists in a large part of coding fragments of text with codes, and using these codes to build a coding structure that helps you understand patterns in your data. To code a source, use the Start Coding module. Select a source, and select the fragment you want to code. At the left-hand side, a panel will appear. Type the name of the new code in the text field in that left-hand panel, or code the fragment with an existing code by clicking it in the list below the text field (you can filter this list by typing in the text field). To manage existing codes, use the 'Manage codes' module.
Overviews (module 'Overviews')
This module shows a number of overviews of your project: the cross-section of attribute values with codes, the list of selected attribute values for each casecode (to allow you to quickly change attributes for all casecodes), and an overview of the selected attributes over all cases. Note that at the moment, the overview pages are still in development.
Publish (tab in Project Home)
In the Publish tab, you will soon be able to choose whether to publish you project. You can select whether you want to share only your coding structure, also the coded fragments, or your entire project. Of course, make sure you properly anonymized your sources before you share anything!
Log (tab in Project Home)
In the Log, you can see all changes to your project. This enables you to track progress when several coders work on your project.
Project members (tab in Project Home) Here you can add people to your project. You can only add people who also have a QualiCoder account, and you will need to know the email address with which they registered at QualiCoder. Project members can have different roles. Researchers can do everything within the project; Independent Coders can only code using their own coding structure, and cannot see codes and coding structures of other coders; General Coders can only code using the general coding structure; Reviewers can only look at the project but cannot change anything; and Transcribers can only add sources and manage sources they added themselves.
Trying QualiCoder yourself
These are the QualiCoder basics. Since QualiCoder is still under development, these features may change (or rather, improve). The best way to find out how QualiCoder works, is to just create an acccount and start playing around!