Finding Fidelity: Advancing Audiovisual Analysis Using Software

Christina Silver, Jennifer Patashnick


Specialised software for the analysis of qualitative data has been in development for the last thirty years. However, its adoption is far from widespread. Additionally, qualitative research itself is evolving, from projects that utilised small, text-based data sets to those which involve the collection, management, and analysis of enormous quantities of multimedia data or data of multiple types. Software has struggled to keep up with these changes for several reasons: 1. meeting the needs of researchers is complicated by the lack of documentation and critique by those who are implementing software use and 2. audiovisual data is particularly challenging due to the multidimensionality of data and substantial variety in research project aims and output requirements. This article discusses the history of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS (CAQDAS) as it relates to audiovisual data, and introduces the term "fidelity" as a conceptual mechanism to match software tools and researcher needs. Currently available software tools are examined and areas found lacking are highlighted.


CAQDAS; audiovisual data; ATLAS.ti; MAXqda; NVivo; Transana; DRS; qualitative analysis; visual analysis

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Copyright (c) 2011 Christina Silver, Jennifer Patashnick

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