ECPR Winter School
University of Bamberg, Bamberg
22 February - 1 March 2019

WA115 - Introduction to MAXQDA a Qualitative and Mixed Methods Data Analysis Software

Instructor Details

Instructor Photo

Francisco Freitas

Centro de Estudos Sociais, University of Coimbra

Instructor Bio

Francisco Freitas is a researcher who studied, sociology, natural and technological risks and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) at the Universities of Coimbra and Aveiro.

Alongside his research activities, he collaborates with Verbi GmbH in the development of the Portuguese version of MAXQDA.

For many years, Francisco has worked on research projects on which he uses his extensive experience in the fields of research methods, data collection and analysis, including the activities of georeferencing, mapping, and spatial analysis.

Francisco has worked regularly as a software instructor and research methods lecturer in several countries.

His current research interests encompass big data, digital research methods, and advanced analytics.

Francisco is a certified MAXQDA instructor.

Course Dates and Times
Friday 22 February 13:00–15:00 and 15:30–18:00

Saturday 23 February 09:00–12:30 and 14:00–17:30
Prerequisite Knowledge

This is an introductory course on MAXQDA version 2018 for Windows or Mac.

You do not need previous MAXQDA experience or knowledge of qualitative research methods in general.

You must bring a Windows or Mac OS laptop computer with the 15-day demonstration version of MAXQDA installed, available for download at

You will receive a temporary MAXQDA license to continue software testing after completing the course. Mastering MAXQDA does not require special computation abilities.

Get dedicated support for MAXQDA installation and usage.

Short Outline

This course offers an applied introduction to MAXQDA, an easy-to-use tool for qualitative and/or mixed methods data analysis, now available as a universal application for Windows and Mac OS. You will get a practical overview of how to manage, code, and analyse different types of qualitative data, and report findings using MAXQDA. After the ccourse, you will know how to work independently using MAXQDA.

This is a hands-on course is organised under three fundamental topics. Activities will consist mostly of in-class demonstrations combined with guided practice using predefined datasets and worksheets. The worksheets consist of extensive applied examples, valuable for future reference. A small assignment will be given out after the first contact hours.

Tasks for ECTS Credits

1 credit (pass/fail grade). Attend at least 90% of course hours, participate fully in in-class activities, and carry out the necessary reading and/or other work prior to, and after, class.

Long Course Outline

MAXQDA is easy to learn, and contains powerful tools for efficient research data management and analysis using project files. Instead of struggling to learn intricate software procedures, MAXQDA users can master and implement an extensive range of research methodologies.

This practical course consists of three topics covering the main stages of the qualitative data research process. You will be introduced to basic and more advanced features. By the end of the course, you will know how to use MAXQDA in your qualitative research projects.

Topic 1: Data collection and management

First, we will compile a list of data gathering and preparation activities using examples ranging from traditional research techniques to online or digital-oriented methods.

We will test the different ways documents may be collected and imported into a project file using standard file formats and assistant tools like the MAXApp.

Document represents a broad category abridging multiple file types: textual files, PDF documents and/or reports, spreadsheets and other tabulated data, survey data, focus groups transcripts, bibliographic data, images, audio files, video files, web pages, twitter data, etc.

Next, we look at MAXQDA's main features and how they are organised internally. This step allows you to manage your data using MAXQDA in a fast and rewarding way.

Then we test some of MAXQDA's data preparation and curation features, such as how to manage and perform literature reviews using standard file formats that allow the exchange of files between software packages.

By the end of this topic, you will know how to navigate through your databases, replacing one-by-one navigation procedures with more interesting procedures.

Topic 2: Data coding

Qualitative data is available in myriad formats. Text analysis remains a key feature but, due to software assistance, qualitative data analysis is increasingly devoted to other formats. Several methodologies, research designs and coding protocols can be implemented using MAXQDA. We will briefly discuss the main academic variations in the deductive or inductive coding approaches.

Coding information is an important part of qualitative research. Methodologies and document types imply differences in coding information. We will look in depth at all coding possibilities in MAXQDA, including the paraphrasing options. You will complete several practical exercises using multimedia data (images, video, and/or audio recordings) and examples of textual data (policy documents, interview transcripts, open-ended survey responses, or newspaper articles). We will also cover the memoing features, which are important to qualitative research, along with options for linking data and data classification using variables.

Topic 3: Data analysis and visualisation

Methodological bibliography should be precise in terms of the tasks one must perform to construct and evaluate theroies within a methodological framework.

Having the data in a digital format means you might have to perform multiple types of searches across the dataset to answer significant questions.

We will test MAXQDA's multiple query tools, to operate simple and/or more sophisticated research inquiries. One advantage of using software for qualitative research is that multiple approaches are possible.

Apart from the methodological requirements, software may also be used to enhance analytical capabilities. We will look at how elements like grid tables and thematic summaries encourage the analytical process.

Regarding visualisations, we will look at functions in MAXQDA for creating new levels of analysis to support qualitative research. We will also assess how the software offers analytical tools to achieve different levels of analysis.

We will learn how to present research findings in a more fashionable way, assigning colours and exploring convenient functions like the Code Matrix Browser, the Code Relations Browser, the Document Portrait, and the Contingency Tables.

Reporting information remains an important feature because raw data has little use, and every research project must produce valuable insights.

The openness of software is important for effective data analysis, something that is guaranteed by MAXQDA. We will therefore look at MAXQDA's file export features. 

In qualitative research, good investigation can be blurred by a lack of substantiation about the procedures and/or tasks involved in the progression. Software can provide evidence-based assumptions for a research audit (e.g. a dataset can be shared).

Reporting, on the other hand, involves extracting ‘malleable’ information from the software and presenting it effectively. Dedicated functions in MAXQDA let you report all parts of your project files. The MAXQDA user can then choose what to do with the outputs, and we will test that in detail during this course.

Day-to-Day Schedule

FridayData Collection and Management

1.1. Digital data collection (including the MAXApp assistance)
1.2. Data preparation and transformation
1.3. Generating a project file
1.4. Safeguarding the project file
1.5. Creating new documents
1.6. Data import and management (internals and externals)
1.7. Organizing and referencing the data
1.8. Assigning hyperlinks and geolinks
1.9. Importing interview transcripts
1.10. Focus groups pre-processing and import
1.11. Working with pictures
1.12. Transcribing audio and video files
1.13. Reference management and bibliographic reviews
1.14. Importing structured data using spreadsheets
1.15. Webpages import
1.16. Twitter integration

Friday Afternoon / Saturday morningData Coding

2.1. Coding the data
2.2. Emoticodes features
2.3. Code system management
2.4. Code favourites and shortcuts
2.5. Merging and transforming codes
2.6. Batch operations in the codings
2.7. Memoing options and logbook
2.8. Paraphrasing the data
2.9. Creative coding
2.10. Linking documents
2.11. Document variables and code variables
2.12. Autocoding data using lexical searches

Saturday afternoonData Analysis and Visualisation

3.1. Activation and information retrieval
3.2. Generating document sets
3.3. Complex queries
3.4. Overview tables
3.5. Frequencies and stop-lists
3.6. Subcode statistics
3.7. Summary tables and grids
3.8. Communicating findings with the visual tools
3.9. Data export and MAXQDA components export
3.10. Team work implementation and management
3.11. Printing options
3.12. Smart Publisher

Day-to-Day Reading List


Veerle Van den Eynden, Louise Corti, M., Woollard, L. B., & Horton, L. (2011). Managing and Sharing Data - Best Practice For Researchers.

UK Data Archive University of Essex. Retrieved from

Silverman, D. (2009). What You Can (and Can’t) Do with Qualitative Research. In Qualitative Research (pp. 5–16). London: SAGE Publications.

Saturday morning

Kuckartz, U. (2014). Qualitative Text Analysis: A Guide to Methods, Practice & Using Software. London: SAGE. [selected chapters]

Lewins, A., & Silver, C. (2014). Using Software in Qualitative Research: A Step-by-Step Guide (Second Edi.). London: Sage Publications.. [selected chapters]

Saturday afternoon

Banks, M. (2005). Visual Methods in Social Research. London: Sage Publications. [selected chapters]

Pink, S. (2004). Visual Methodologies. In C. Seale, G. Gobo, J. F. Gubrium, & David Silverman (Eds.), Qualitative Research Practice (pp. 391–406). London: SAGE.

Software Requirements


MAXQDA 12 Windows or Mac installed and running flawlessly. A temporary license will be available for course participants.

Hardware Requirements


For precise hardware requirements, please consult: It is advisable to use a 14-inch or larger display laptop.


Bernard, Harvey Russel; Ryan, Gery Wayne (2010). Analyzing Qualitative Data: Systematic Approaches. London: SAGE.

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2005). Introduction. The discipline and practice of qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 1–20). London: SAGE.

Freitas, F. (2013). Coding qualitative data using MAXQDA 11. In Rosaline Barbour’s Introducing Qualitative Research: A Student's Guide. London: SAGE. Retrieved from

Gibbs, G. R. (2007). Analyzing Qualitative Data. London: SAGE.

Miles, M. B., Huberman, A. M., & Saldaña, J. (2014). Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook (Third Edit.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Other Resources:

In the following web address,, there is a comprehensive list of materials designed to support the MAXQDA learning process. In the referred landing page, every user will be able to find detailed online tutorials, an extensive list of video tutorials encompassing most of the program features, and the official user manuals. A dedicated channel for MAXQDA is available on YouTube: During the contact hours more resources will be provided and extensive information will be published on the Moodle platform, where all the course related communication will be centralized.

Additional Information


This course description may be subject to subsequent adaptations (e.g. taking into account new developments in the field, participant demands, group size, etc). Registered participants will be informed in due time.

Note from the Academic Convenors

By registering for this course, you confirm that you possess the knowledge required to follow it. The instructor will not teach these prerequisite items. If in doubt, contact the instructor before registering.

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