LINGUIST List 7.97

Mon Jan 22 1996

Sum: Software for qualitative data analysis

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. Venetia Moschovou, sum: software for qualitative data analysis

Message 1: sum: software for qualitative data analysis

Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 16:17:50 GMT
From: Venetia Moschovou <>
Subject: sum: software for qualitative data analysis

Apologies for the terrible delay in summarising the replies to my
original Linguist query!... The initial message was as follows:

"Subject: software for qualitative data analysis
I am working on conversational data employing a combination of
conversation analysis (on a micro level) and a more general
politeness-oriented approach (on a discourse-chunk level). Does
anyone know of a software that is capable of coding (items or
strings), as well as sorting and retrieving coded categories? The
kind of software I am looking for should also be sensitive to nested
and overlapping codings. Any pointers to relevant software and/or
sources, or literature, or people who have used such packages would be
greatly appreciated! Please e-mail your replies directly to me, and I
will summarise for the list. Thanks in advance!"

I would like to thank the people who replied to my message;they are (in
no particular order):	Geoff Millar
			Niels van der Mast
			R1257 (sorry! no name was mentioned...)
			Chris Nelson
			Rodney Hopson & Bill Bradley
			Sherri Condon
		and	Jane Edwards

Some of the respondents recommended specific packages (and described
their own experience in using these), others referred me to research
groups working on conversational data, and others gave me reference
pointers to follow-up. To start with the references:

- references:

DuBois & Schuetze-Coburn (1993) "Representing Hierarchy: constituent
structure for discourse databases"
In Edwards, J.A & M.D.Lampert (eds) __Talking Data: transcription and
coding in discourse research__ pp. 221-260.
I found the article very useful in terms of overall coding issues.

Weitzman, E.A & M.B.Miles (1995) __Computer Programs for Qualitative Data
Analysis__ London:Sage
This book was described as an excellent guide to existing software for
qualitative data analysis. For someone who is as daunted by computer
jargon as myself, this book is of invaluable help; it is tremendously
informative and unbelievably user-friendly!!!

- research groups:

one respondent suggested that I should contact the Sociology group
(University of California - Santa Barbara) working on conversational
analysis and related software. The contact address is:

<Prof. Jack DuBois>
As I didnt' have much luck here, if anyone has more details about this
group, could they please pass them on?

Another respondent referred me to the work of Giovanni Flammia and
Victor Zue; these two researchers have developed a graphical text
annotation system called 'Nb'; for more info check the following web

- software:

The package that was mentioned most was NUD*IST; it was developed at
Latrobe University; seems to be very popular with qualitative analysis
oriented researchers in a number of disciplines; and was presented as
one of the most powerful packages in the Weitzman-Miles book. For
more info check the following web sites:

for Australia and New Zealand:
for the Americas:
for the rest of the world:

Demo versions are available by anonymous ftp or gopher from:; web access: I finally
chose to use this package.

Other recommended packages were:	Ethnograph
The Weitzman-Miles book provides detailed descriptions of all packages
with the exception of Workbench, which was developed by researchers in
the University of California (Santa Barbara).

- other:

I followed one respondent's suggestion to subscribe to two electronic
discussion lists: ETHNO and QUALRS-L; they both deal with research on
discourse (among other things), and conversation analysis in
particular. Also, both of these lists sustain discussions about
specific computer packages for data analysis, general issues on
qualitative vis a vis quantitative apporoaches to data and theory
construction, and other issues of a practical or theoretical interest
(such as transcribing conventions, transcribers, etc.).

As this message is getting very long, I have to stop here. I can
provide further information on any of the above on request.

Once again, thanks to all who responded to my query!!! I have greatly
benefited from all replies!!!


- -----------
Department of Linguistic Science
University of Reading
P.O. Box 218
Reading - Berkshire

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