Qualitative Data Analysis Software (nVivo, Atlas.TI, and more)

Overview and resource links for Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS), uses and how to choose, focusing on QDAS supported by JHU Data Services: nVivo and Atlas.TI, with resource and training links to these and other QDA Software

For direct assistance

JHU Data Services

Contact us, JHU Data Services for assistance with access to nVivo and ATLAS.ti at the Data Services offices on A level, JHU Eisenhower Library.

Visit our website for more info and our upcoming training workshops!

ATLAS.ti overview

ATLAS.ti qualitative data analysis software is published by ATLAS.ti GmbH in Germany.  It competes with [Nvivo] nearly feature by feature with most of the functions listed in the QDAS Overview Section. It is adequate for focused techniques but is oriented toward serving as a core of a qualitative project's data analysis and management.

ATLAS.ti currently has Mac and Windows versions with comparable features. It also has a mobile iPad version that facilitates fieldwork. ATLAS.ti Cloud version is primarily for text documents and lacks audio/video coding, but supports collaborative access to shared projects. Other versions of ATLAS.ti support collaboration only by managing individual versions and merging projects.

ATLAS.ti is installed on PCs in the Data Services Computer Lab on A-Level of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library. JHU currently has no licensed versions; however, student pricing is available, including a monthly leasing option for shorter-term projects. 

ATLAS.ti Guides & Tutorials

ATLAS.ti is installed on PCs in the Data Services Computer Lab on A-Level of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library.

Extensive help resources are available through the Tools & Support tab while running ATLAS.ti. 

External guides:
A more detailed overview from ATLAS.ti:

Storage & Backup: ATLAS.ti maintains associated text and A/V file types associated within a project bundle (format prefix: .atlproj), appearing as a single file on the PC. Moving or backing up projects requires moving the entire project bundle. Audio, video, and other files must be imported into ATLAS.ti and kept this the bundle in order to keep them associated with internal codes and annotations. Keep this in mind for managing the storage size of projects with multiple gigabytes of video, which cannot necessarily be kept on external storage when accessed by the program. Bundles kept on cloud storage, such as OneDrive, or even a network server, may be prone to corruption from file syncing and remote access. [more info] Projects should be accessed from a single desktop or laptop. This can make collaborative access to files challenging. ATLAS.ti uses its File Merge as a workaround if the "master" file is carefully administered merging each working "sub-project"  [more info]. Team projects involving text only could try ATLAS.ti Cloud. It is important to back up the project file ideally to another drive or cloud storage. Cloud storage is fine for backup copies, as long as it is not the accessed version.

Data Security: ATLAS.ti has password protection using standard encryption for "at rest" and "in transit" modes. (To set passwords, load a project and open the "File/Info" menu.) It is suitable for human subject personal and health identifiers, however, the security is only as good as the password management. If working collaboratively on a dataset, manage the shared password securely. Consider password management software such as LastPass or 1Password. 

Exporting and importing projects: nVivo can import projects from ATLAS.ti. ATLAS.ti can export the REFI-QDA Standard format (.qdpx) which allows importing projects to certain QDA software, and is also useful for long-term project preservatoin. Some project items are not exported. More information, oriented to data librarians, about archiving and preserving ATLAS.ti projects can be found in the ATLAS.ti data primer from the Data Curation Network