Edited by Keith Townsend, Rebecca Loudoun and David Lewin
For many years, qualitative analysis has largely been undertaken using manual techniques. Since the late 1980s, dedicated software has been developed to aid qualitative analysis. The first generation of computer programs was largely designed to assist researchers in managing data by enabling the structuring of information from focus groups, field notes and interviews. One of the first computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) packages (developed by Australian academic Tom Richards) was called NUD*IST, which stands for Non-numerical Unstructured Data Indexing, Searching and Theorising. It was designed to provide a program like SPSS but as a non-Statistical Package for Social Scientists. Second generation CAQDAS packages introduced functions for coding text and manipulating, searching and reporting on the coded text. This assisted researchers in the retrieval of text from data, enabled scholars to code that data and develop a system of relating codes to each other using tree-like structures.
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