CAQDAS and Qualitative Syllogism Logic—NVivo 8 and MAXQDA 10 Compared

Walter Schönfelder


Qualitative research is a heterogeneous field comprised of different and sometimes competing analytical strategies. A growing number of researchers use computer programs to assist in the analysis of qualitative data. Some analytical tasks are common ground and will be performed by most researchers regardless of their methodological approach.
Software vendors try to accommodate an increasing demand for common and specific analytical needs and include an ever growing number of features in their products. Depending on the methodological point of departure, some functions provided in the current generation of CAQDAS packages may appear controversial because they invite the user to exceed the limits for the conclusions which can be drawn from qualitative analysis.
In this article the limits for drawing conclusions from qualitative data are discussed from a social constructivist, discourse analytical perspective. This is described with the concept of qualitative syllogism logic. Some tools provided by CAQDAS packages are used in most qualitative methodological frameworks. These are discussed before two CAQDAS packages, NVivo 8 and MAXQDA 10, are compared with regard to how intuitively they provide these basic tools along with those that appear controversial because they exceed the limits of qualitative syllogism logic.


CAQDAS; NVivo; MAXQDA; syllogism logic; qualitative methodology; social constructivism; discourse analysis; analytical generalization; quantification

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Copyright (c) 2011 Walter Schönfelder

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