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Research tools

Here are some software tools to assist in quantitative and qualitiative data anlyasis.

Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software. (CAQDAS)
This project at the University of Surrey is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council andt has no commercial links to any software developer or supplier. It aims to provide practical support and information in the use of a range of software programs that have been designed to assist with qualitative data analysis. The project also provides various platforms for debate concerning the methodological and epistemological issues arising from the use of such software packages. Demonstration versions of software to available to download.

Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP)
CASP's aim is to "enable decision makers and those who seek to influence them to acquire skills to make sense of, and act on, the evidence". The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme is part of the Public Health Resource Unit, working at the Institute of Health Sciences in Oxford, to help bring the principles and practice of evidence-based practice to as wide an audience as possible. The program includes a CD-ROM of critical appraisal skills.

Statistics for the Terrified
The title says it all. This is a commercially produced piece of low cost software to introduce students to statistics, not just the mechanics but also the whys and wherefores of using and understanding different statistical tests.

Qualitative and quantitative analysis tools

The Ethnograph is for qualitative research on text data such as interviews and telephone surveys. It allows researchers to identify, retrieve and analyse text from documents.

This free program from the University of Reading provides advice and guidance on using statistics as well the means to enter, analyse and display results, using a wide variety of statistical techniques. The program includes facilities for recoding, sorting and grouping data and selecting sub sets. Parametric and non-parametric statistics and time series are included such as t-tests, chi square, multiple regression, analysis of variance. Presentation uses histograms, scatter plots, box plots, stem and leaf.

Described as 'the Complete Survey Solution', Pinpoint provides researchers with facilities for questionnaire design, data collection, survey analysis and graphics and charting. Pinpoint is a commercial product from Logotron.

QSR N6 (formerly NUDIST)
Software designed to aid researchers in handling Non-numerical Unstructured Data by supporting processes of Indexing, Searching and Theorising'. It is used with a researcher's text to search, categorise, index, organise and search for links between categories. It can also be used to present analysis of results. QSR Merge is included with version 4.0 This utility allows the researcher to merges different research projects or convert data cross platforms i.e. Mac to PC.

Question Mark
A software tool that allows the user to develop on-line tests, surveys and assessments. Questions may be developed and stored in a database. Perception has a Reporter tool which supports users in analysing and reporting results of tests and surveys. Secure tests may be delivered over the web or an intranet using server software on a Windows NT platform. Questions can include graphics, sound files, video files and pdf files although using multimedia requires the end user to have browser plug-ins which may have implications for tests run on workstation networks.

Describing itself as 'The Total solution for in-house research' the core of SNAP is a simple to use survey analysis program ideally suited to handling the whole process of social surveys and other types of surveys. This includes: on screen question design and printing in different formats; data entry including logic checks and routing; tabulation and cross tabulation of results, including filtering and statistical analysis; presentation of results in a wide range of charts including 3D and exploded pie charts; import and export of data and results to and from other packages. Snap Campus edition now available with training manual for staff and students.

SPSS UK is part of SPSS Inc., which produces a range of SPPS products including SPSS, SYSTAT, QI Analyst, MapInfo, Neural Connection and SPSS CHIAD. The basic SPSS module includes data entry capabilities, data analysis and graphical presentation of results. The Tables option adds extensive facilities for tabulating results and there is an advanced statistics module. The facility to create and run batch files is a very powerful tool for undertaking regular data entry, analysis and reporting tasks as a single process. The company has now launched a full version of SPSS for students and a tutor pack consisting of two elements; Essential SPSS and Essential Social Statistics.

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