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How can qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) improve the textual and visual analyses of political debates?

Open Panel

Abstract

Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis (CAQDAS) have undergone an unstoppable development during the last three decades. Although the statistical software is still more present in daily research, the growing range of qualitative programs available for researchers working on Social Sciences is widespread. Among the latest applications of these resources is the ability to integrate the analysis of written texts with the study of the image, opening new fields for applied researches in the crossroad between media and political sciences. From a comparative point of view, this paper reviews the current range of CAQDAS and assesses the uses that could be applied to research in political science, paying particular attention to the investigation of election debates. The synchronization between images and text allow a clearer and more grounded connection between these two elements. And it also opens new ways for publicly presenting the achieved results displaying more intuitive formats, such as networks, selecting fragments without transcription, preparation of documents listed as intermediate facilitate research work… After a full presentation of all the different options currently available for researchers, this paper provides an in-depth case of study about the 2008 Spanish General elections’ debates between Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the leader of the conservative party, Mariano Rajoy. This analysis is completed mixing transcription programs (F4), and analysis programs (Atlas.ti), in order to present an applied example about how these new procedures can be developed all along any qualitative research project.