Christina Silver

University of Surrey

Christina Silver, PhD, is Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey, Guildford, UK where she leads the training and capacity-building activities of the CAQDAS Networking Project. The project provides information, advice and training in a range of software packages designed to facilitate the analysis of qualitative and mixed data. Christina also co-directs the department’s Day Courses in Social Research programme which provides qualitative and quantitative methods training, and is co-founder of Qualitative Data Analysis Services (QDAS) which provides customised consultancy services for individuals and groups engaged in data analysis. Christina’s particular interests relate to the relationship between technology and methodology and the teaching of computer-assisted analysis. She has experience in using many different CAQDAS packages (including ATLAS.ti, MAXQDA, NVivo, Transana and QDA Miner) for a range of project types, across academic disciplines, and in applied, government and commercial contexts. Christina is co-author of Using Software in Qualitative Research: A Step-by-Step Guide with Ann Lewins and The Five-Level QDA Method for harnessing CAQDAS packages powerfully with Nicholas Woolf and has just published three books on this pedagogy, one each for ATLAS.ti, MAXQDA and NVivo. Over the past 20 years Christina has trained and supported thousands of researchers around the world, focussing on harnessing CAQDAS powerfully, whatever the methodology.

Mindsets for harnessing digital tools in qualitative and mixed-methods analysis: the Five-Level QDA® method 
Many qualitative researchers don’t use CAQDAS packages because they are concerned the software will drive the process or force them to conform to a single style of data analysis. But there are also many researchers who have mastered the art of harnessing software in the service of their analytic needs. We developed Five-Level QDA as a way of describing what these experts unconsciously do and it is a pedagogy for more quickly developing this expertise. The method recognizes that expert users of CAQDAS packages clearly distinguish their analytic strategies – what they plan to do – from their software tactics – how they plan to do it. The core of Five-Level QDA is a process of conscious translation between strategies and tactics that ensures that the needs of the data analysis, and not the capabilities of the software, drive the process. Christina will describe the genesis, development and principles of the Five-Level QDA method and discuss the heuristic mindset involved in translating between analytic strategies and software tactics. She will also outline how Five-Level QDA is being implemented by colleagues around the world and reflect on the opportunities it provides for teaching qualitative and mixed-methods in integrated curricula.