Feeling overwhelmed by data? Fear not, the new NVivo suite is coming!
As an online community manager at QSR, I spend many happy hours connecting with qualitative researchers from all walks of life.
I follow academic bloggers and PhD students who debate methods and epistemology. I chat (mostly online) with time-poor evaluation practitioners who are looking to deliver robust recommendations. I read articles by historians, educators, ethnographers and health researchers who are all busy unraveling the complexities of human behavior...along the way I bump into 'every-day-people' who are just trying to make sound decisions in the face of SO MUCH DATA.
Listening to all these virtual conversations, I can feel a groundswell of change.
Is it just me, or can you feel it too?
For a start, the lines between qualitative and quantitative are becoming increasingly blurry and researchers are 'skilling-up' in response. They are realizing that the 'how many' can help to inform the 'why' - and they are looking for ways to handle this mixed-methods approach in their own research projects. The eyes of data scientists and social scientists are being forced to meet across a crowded room.
At the same time, the process of data collection is evolving. Along with the usual treasure trove of interviews, observations and surveys - social media is fast cementing its place as a giant focus group and a force to be reckoned with. What are people saying? What motivates them? How are they connected to each other? Researchers from all disciplines are left wondering how best to harness this rich source of data - in a timely, ethical and nuanced way.
Research teams (in academia, government, health and business) are being challenged to work quickly without forsaking rigour - and the current climate of accountability demands that they make their processes transparent, systematic and repeatable.
Big Data, Small Data, Meta Data - it's all pressing at the gate waiting to be understood and managed.
It's thrilling and just a little bit daunting.
That's why I'm so excited about the upcoming NVivo suite - it's been designed to meet these challenges head-on.
I've had a sneak peek - and I have to say that the development team have done a stellar job of polishing up existing functionality while delivering a raft of innovative new features.
Whether you're 'doing a bit of research' or embarking on a full scale project you'll find great new tools for getting the job done.
Now, and in the exciting days ahead.