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Blismas, N G and Dainty, A R J (2003) Computer-aided qualitative data analysis: panacea or paradox?. Building Research & Information, 31(06), 455–63.
- Type: Journal Article
- Keywords: computer-aided; data analysis; inductive; methodology; qualitative research; research methods
- ISBN/ISSN: 0961-3218
- URL: http://taylorandfrancis.metapress.com/link.asp?id=e3j656tkvj483fm2
Following the methodological debate within the construction management research community in the 1990s, research studies adopting inductive methodologies have increased. Many such projects have adopted computer-aided qualitative data analysis in order both to facilitate the research process and to ensure methodological rigour and transparency. However, there remains a paucity of critical discourse within the construction management research literature about the impact of such approaches on the depth and rigour of the resulting analyses. This paper posits that so-called computer-aided approaches have the potential to affect detrimentally the outcomes of construction management research if researchers see such tools as a panacea for ensuring the rigour and transparency of their work. Paradoxically, computer-aided approaches often restrict rather than aid the analytical process. The paper draws upon the authors' experiences of using a leading package from which a number of considerations for the use of computers in qualitative data analysis are discussed. It is concluded that the research community would benefit from an open debate on whether computer packages really do provide a panacea to the analysis of qualitative data in applied construction management research projects or whether their use merely provides a label with which to convince sceptical positivists of the rigour of inductive research techniques.