Christina Silver and the Five-Level QDA Method

Categories: Data Analysis, Other, Qualitative, Research

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The NVivo Virtual Conference on September 23, Qualitative Research in a Changing World, is a gathering of global researchers, academic writers, and students. Not surprisingly, “Using NVivo and Qualitative Data Analysis” is the focus of one track. SAGE author Dr. Christina Silver will be presenting twice: “Teaching NVivo using the Five-Level QDA Method: Adaptations for Synchronous Online Learning” with Sarah L. Bulloch and “The Importance of Reflexivity in Remote Teams: Using NVivo to Bridge the Physical Divide” with Dr. Anuja Cabraal.


Christina’s work centers around Five-Level Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) Method. In addition to the book about the use of this approach with NVivo, she and co-author Nicholas Woolf have written books that apply it for use with MAXQDA and Atlas.t.i..


In a nutshell, the Five-Level QDA principles are:

  1. clearly distinguish analytic strategies from software tactics
  2. recognise the inherent contradiction between the emergent strategies of qualitative research and the cut-and-dried nature of the software tactics
  3. understand that there are alternative ways of reconciling these contradictions
  4. choose to reconcile the contradiction in a manner that leads to using the CAQDAS package powerfully. Five-Level QDA resolves the contradiction through a conscious process of translation between strategies and tactics

In addition to the book about the use of this approach with NVivo, she and co-author Nicholas Woolf have written books that apply it for use with MAXQDA and Atlas.t.i..

To learn more:

The SAGE Using Software in Qualitative Research book website offers step-by-step guides and sample data you can try analyzing. Also see  a 2015 article “From guided instruction to facilitation of learning: The development of Five-level QDA as a CAQDAS pedagogy that explicates the practices of expert users”. in the International Journal of Social Research Methodology. Visit Christina’s blog.

Relevant MethodSpace Posts

Find a trove of conference-related open-access resources here

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