Reflecting on the Impact of Qualitative Software on Teaching


  • Clare Tagg Tagg Oram Partnership



qualitative software, teaching, course design, NVivo, QSR


When teaching people how to use qualitative software, a number of factors influence what functions in the software are covered. This paper will discuss the teaching of short intensive small group courses on qualitative software and identify the features in the software that influence the structure of the course and the material covered. I have taught QSR software (N4, N5, N6, NVivo2, NVivo7 and NVivo8) to small groups of researchers in universities and research organisations for 15 years. Participants have had various levels of research experience including members of faculty with extensive qualitative experience and Masters and first year PhD students. Participants have come from a wide range of disciplines. The design of each course is generally different to meet the needs of the group, their experience, the practical facilities and when known, the requirements of their project. But how significant is the software in the design of a course? This paper will use records of past courses to identify the elements taught and the reasons for the selection of topics and ordering. The paper will compare the impact of the software user interface, structure, and features by comparing the teaching of similar courses in N6 and NVivo7. The paper will conclude by reflecting on the impact of course design on the use that participants make of qualitative software. URN:


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Author Biography

Clare Tagg, Tagg Oram Partnership

The Tagg Oram Partnership has been using QSR software since 1993 and has worked closely with QSR as a recognised independent supplier of training and consultancy in the use of all versions of their qualitative research software. Dr Clare TAGG was on the organising committee for the successful series of conferences in the UK, Strategies in Qualitative Research, and co-edited a special issue on the use of QSR software of the International Journal of Social Research Methodology (Theory & Practice), 5(3), July—September 2002. The Tagg Oram Partnership specialises in teaching people how to use NVivo through project startup so all courses involve aspects of project design. Clare has worked on the development of an orthogonal approach to coding to maximise the effective use of NVivo searching. This approach is embedded in her teaching and consultancy support for NVivo. She has also developed a series of options for projects involving multiple users and regular use of the project merge functionality.




How to Cite

Tagg, C. (2011). Reflecting on the Impact of Qualitative Software on Teaching. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1).