Don't Blame the Software: Using Qualitative Data Analysis Software Successfully in Doctoral Research

Michelle Salmona, Dan Kaczynski


In this article, we explore the learning experiences of doctoral candidates as they use qualitative data analysis software (QDAS). Of particular interest is the process of adopting technology during the development of research methodology. Using an action research approach, data was gathered over five years from advanced doctoral research candidates and supervisors. The technology acceptance model (TAM) was then applied as a theoretical analytic lens for better understanding how students interact with new technology.

Findings relate to two significant barriers which doctoral students confront: 1. aligning perceptions of ease of use and usefulness is essential in overcoming resistance to technological change; 2. transparency into the research process through technology promotes insights into methodological challenges. Transitioning through both barriers requires a competent foundation in qualitative research. The study acknowledges the importance of higher degree research, curriculum reform and doctoral supervision in post-graduate research training together with their interconnected relationships in support of high-quality inquiry.



doctoral education; qualitative methodology; dissertation research; qualitative data analysis software; QDAS; technology acceptance model; TAM; action research

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Copyright (c) 2016 Michelle Salmona, Dan Kaczynski

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