ATLAS.ti (version-5.0 RC2)
-Operating system –greater machine with Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP, 256 MB or more RAM, and 45 MB hard drive space
-It offers a manual, Quick Tour for Beginners that provides the basic training.
-Interface languages –English, German
-It is useful for discourse analysis and ethnography. However, it may not be effective for mixed method research.
- Visualization: largely through offering the network view, but also by enabling the indexing of pictures and other graphical objects;
- Integration: all primary documents, codes, memos, quotations, etc., are kept within one 'hermeneutic unit' - the focus of analysis, which may be a set of interviews on a topic, the open question responses from a questionnaire survey, a set of organizational documents, or whatever.
- Serendipity: standing for '...an intuitive approach to data', that is the ability to browse primary documents, quotations, codes, etc., all within the same unit and thereby happening upon relationships that one may not have seen previously.
- Exploration: 'Through an exploratory, yet systematic approach to your data as opposed to a more "bureaucratic" handling of data it is assumed that especially your theory building, constructive activities will greatly benefit.'
ATLAS.ti 5.0 imports Microsoft Word and Works, Windows Write, and WordPerfect files, along with ASCII or ANSI text files, and files saved as rtf-format; Microsoft Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets; Microsoft PowerPoint; HTML; sound files (*.au, *.snd, *.mp3, *.wav formats); video files (*.avi, *.mpg, *.mov, *.qt, *.wmv); and many graphics file formats (the list of importable file formats depends on the Media Control Interface drivers installed on your computer).
4. Handling multimedia data
ATLAS.ti handles multimedia data in a way that is useful for the analysis of this kind of data, as they allow for the coding of video and audio sequences. The features available are:
linking to multimedia files; coding parts of pictures; coding/transcribing of video/audio data, but inconvenient Window handling; and handlings of compressed files that are supported by Windows configuration.
5. Various search types available
- Simple searches retrieve text strings and/or codes from data. Frequently, the search results can be displayed in their context.
- Boolean searches offer various combinations of searches using the Boolean operators AND, OR/XOR, and NOT across various sections of codes or texts. (codes: AND, OR, NOT)
- Placeholder searches allow you to use placeholders for certain characters, e.g. numerals, paragraph marks, etc., in text searches.
- Proximity searches are similar to Boolean searches. These searches allow you to retrieve combinations of two or more text strings and/or codes, which occur in a definable proximity to each other. (codes only)
- Combination searches allow you to combine any of the above searches with Boolean operators. (flexible, but with respect to codes)
6. Coding is easily done in ATLAS.ti. As with earlier versions of ATLAS.ti, codes, memos, hyperlinks, and even networks can be created on the fly and associated with elements of the text as small as individual letters, words, phrases, and sentences, right up to the HU itself.
The coding features that ATLAS ti offers are:
- In vivo coding
In vivo coding means to assign the text that is to be coded to a code, whose label is the text itself. While this is a very efficient method for coding, there might be theoretical consideration to use this option cautiously.
- Contextual coding
After searching your data for certain text and/or codes, you might jump to your finds and code them in context.
- Automatic coding (very slow)
It allows you to perform text and/or code searches and assign a code to the search results.
It allows you to store search patterns in so-called "supercodes." This way, any new or changed data added to a project will be automatically coded through these codes.
It allows to define variables, in which document-wide attributes (such as the gender of a person interviewed, or the edit oral desk for a newspaper article) can be stored.
- Coding of multimedia
It also allows you to apply codes to sequences of certain video and audio files.
- Annotation of codings
It allows you to annotate your codes in a variety of ways.
- Free Memos
Memos are not really codes but little bits of comments that can be attached to data or codes in a way that resembles Post-It™ notes on hardcopies.
7. Variable diagrams
ATLAS.ti allows for the visualization of theoretical models among variables/codes in diagrams. It offers the by far most flexible model editor, which allows you to customize the types of linkages between codes. It is also the only editor that actually links the codes among each other via hyperlinks.
8. Statistical functions (but Atlas ti does not have built-in statistical functions)
A couple of CAQDAS functions might be particularly useful for the integration of quantitative methods into qualitative research:
- Word counts, in particularly when combined with lemmatizations (word stemming), might reveal useful hints for potential keyword codes.
- Most importantly, the export of data, such as code frequencies across documents, enables statistical analyses with the appropriate external software.