Habits of Mind and the Split-Mind Effect: When Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software is Used in Phenomenological Research

Erika Goble, Wendy Austin, Denise Larsen, Linda Kreitzer, E. Sharon Brintnell


When Marshall McLUHAN famously stated "the medium is the message," he was echoing Martin HEIDEGGER's assertion that through our use of technology we can become functions of it. Therefore, how does adopting computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software affect our research activities and, more importantly, our conception of research? These questions are explored by examining the influence NVivo had upon an interdisciplinary phenomenological research project in health ethics. We identify the software's effects and situate our decision to use it within the Canadian health sciences research landscape. We also explore the challenges of remaining true to our project's philosophical foundations, as well as how NVivo altered our being-in-the-world as researchers. This case demonstrates McLUHAN's claim that new technologies invariably initiate new practices and modes of being, and urges researchers to attend to how we are both shaping and being shaped by software.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs120227


computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software; NVivo; hermeneutic phenomenology; qualitative health science research; technology

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-13.2.1709

Copyright (c) 2012 Erika Goble, Wendy Austin, Denise Larsen, Linda Kreitzer, E. Sharon Brintnell

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.