Review: “Analyse qualitativer Daten mit MAXQDA” (2019)

This book combines a MAXQDA manual with Kuckartz (2014). However, it creates a value that is greater than the sum of its parts. Although it sometimes tries too hard to be brief, it does well in combining methodological knowledge with technical questions. Unfortunately, the book has only appeared in German.

This review is based on the German book: Rädiker, Stefan; Kuckartz, Udo (2019): Analyse qualitativer Daten mit MAXQDA. Text, Audio und Video. By now, the book is also available in English.

I did not expect much when I started reading “Analyse qualitativer Daten mit MAXQDA” (Analysis of qualitative data with MAXQDA) by Rädiker and Kuckartz (2019). After all, I am using MAXQDA for several years. However, I stumbled upon an interesting question early on and the book is too prominent to ignore, so I pushed through and finished it just recently.

So, what can this 300 pages book tell us, what the 800 pages MAXQDA manual – which is online available for free – cannot? Let’s have a look into its contents.

Content

The book is made up of three parts. The chapters 1-10 deal with basic functions, like coding, creating a code system(!), memo-use and document variables. These are best read in consecutive order. Part 2, C11 to C16, deal with specific use cases that one can dive into: working with paraphrases, comparing groups or Mixed-Methods-analysis(!). The last part, C17 to C20, deals with more general questions again, like team work, inter-coder-reliability and documentation of the research process.

My own translation of the (German) table of contents. The three sections are mentioned in the preface but are unfortunately they are not reflected in the actual table of contents.

Mode of Presentation

Looking at the table of contents it looks like the MAXQDA manual was mashed up with Kuckartz’ Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse, Methoden, Praxis, Computerunterstüztung (2014). And indeed, that’s what it mainly is. However, it does create a unique value that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Fortunately, the book mostly refrains from a simple “click here, click there” manual style. Instead, most chapters start with a brief methodological introduction, referring to recent literature. Many chapters do a good job in explaining how these methodological questions can be translated into MAXQDA-actions.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The different chapters vary in depth and quality. While the chapters in the introductory part (C1-C10) are solid but not extraordinary, the second part (C11-C16) is certainly the most interesting. C11 “working with paraphrases”, C12 “comparing cases and groups” and especially C13 “mixed-methods data analysis” certainly reflect the expertise of the authors.

On the contrary, too much focus was put on making the book shorter. For example, the chapter “Mixed-Methods-analysis” would have deserved a word of caution about creating invalid results by quantifying coded segments. Also three ways of qualitative-quantitative integration are mentioned (result, data, sequence), but only two of them (results and data) are explained. Furthermore, the modules MAXStats and MAXDictio are not covered. Instead, chapter 14  explains “working with bibliographical data”, which seems half-hearted and little convincing.

Conclusion

Overall the book does well in combining methodological with technical questions. It is especially valuable as a starting point for finding further literature while simultaneously teaching some tricks about MAXQDA on the way. For answering technical questions it is a good start but it cannot beat the extensive MAXQDA manual in detail and depth. However, as a gate into further methodological literature it will certainly remain a consultant on my desk.

The book is online available at Springer Link. From many universities you might have direct access to it.


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