Phenomenology and Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS): A Careful Reconciliation


  • Brian Kelleher Sohn The University of Tennessee



phenomenology, qualitative data analysis software, qualitative research


An oft-cited phenomenological methodologist, Max VAN MANEN (2014), claims that qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) is not an appropriate tool for phenomenological research. Yet phenomenologists rarely describe how phenomenology is to be done: pencil, paper, computer? DAVIDSON and DI GREGORIO (2011) urge QDAS contrarians such as VAN MANEN to get over their methodological loyalties and join the digital world, claiming that all qualitative researchers, whatever their methodology, perform processes aided by QDAS: disaggregation and recontextualization of texts. Other phenomenologists exemplify DAVIDSON and DI GREGORIO's observation that arguments against QDAS often identify problems more closely related to the researchers than QDAS. But the concerns about technology of McLUHAN (2003 [1964]), HEIDEGGER (2008 [1977]), and FLUSSER (2013) cannot be ignored. In this conceptual article I answer the questions of phenomenologists and the call of QDAS methodologists to describe how I used QDAS to carry out a phenomenological study in order to guide others who choose to reconcile the use of software to assist their research.



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Author Biography

Brian Kelleher Sohn, The University of Tennessee

Brian Kelleher SOHN is an adjunct professor in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling. His research interests include phenomenology, teaching and learning, and classroom climate.




How to Cite

Sohn, B. K. (2017). Phenomenology and Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS): A Careful Reconciliation. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18(1).