CAQDAS Comparability. What about CAQDAS Data Exchange?


  • Louise Corti ESDS Qualidata
  • Arofan Gregory Metadata Technologies North America



qualitative data archiving, metadata, descriptive standards, QuDex, DDI


This article seeks to address the theme of the comparability of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS (CAQDAS) packages through comparing current software exchangeability and portability. Our perspective is from a data sharing and archiving perspective and the need for open data exchange standards for qualitative data which will enable longer-term sustainability of both data collections and of annotations on these data. Descriptive metadata allow us to describe data robustly and using a common standard enables us to tap the common features of any complex collection. A set of "raw" research outputs (data) have common descriptive elements such as how the research project was funded and how the data were sampled, collected and analysed to form conclusions from that investigation. Data kept for the longer term must ideally be software and platform independent. In this way, we can help future-proof data resources. Most CAQDAS packages use proprietary databases to manage their data and annotations, and very few enable export of annotated data. In this article we argue for an open descriptive standard that will enable description and interpretation of data for the longer term in data archives and to which proprietary software, such as all CAQDAS packages, can import and export. The use of the term "annotation" or "annotating" is taken to mean any action on the text—classifying, coding, memoing or relating. This meaning of the term is commonly used in the linguistic community, but less so by social scientists. URN:


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Author Biographies

Louise Corti, ESDS Qualidata

Louise CORTI is an Associate Director at the UK Data Archive where she heads the units of ESDS Qualidata, Research Data Management Support Services and Communications. She coordinates the international DDI Working Group on Qualitative Data.

Arofan Gregory, Metadata Technologies North America

Arofan GREGORY has undertaken technical work on the SDMX and DDI standards and tools development, including the registry. He works on technical implementation of these tools for a wide range of data organisations.




How to Cite

Corti, L., & Gregory, A. (2011). CAQDAS Comparability. What about CAQDAS Data Exchange?. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1).

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