ATLAS.ti for Qualitative Research: Families

This guide describes how to use the Atlas.ti, a software program, for qualitative research management and analysis

Families Matter

One of the ways that you can begin to understand the relationships between the materials you are analyzing is to group documents or codes in families based on similar attributes. Document families can be created for sites where you collected data, for different age groups, or for different kinds of collection methods. The families help you to explore the data more effectively

There are a few different ways to add documents to families. The easiest way is to open the Primary Document Manager by either clicking on the P-Docs button or selecting it from the Documents menu. Then, in the center pane of the Document Manager, select the items that you would like to group into a family and drag and drop them into the left pane, called Families. You will be prompted to name your new document family.

In the Families pane, you can see all of Document Families you have created so far and what documents you have added to them. You can also drag and drop documents into families that you have already created from here. To view which documents are in a family, double click on the name of the family and they will appear in the center pane. Under the Families heading in the center pane, you can also see what other families a document is in.

Creating Code Families

The same process works with creating code families as well. Open the Codes Manager, choose the codes you want to add to a family, and then drag them to the left families pane. You will be prompted to enter a new code name.

Organizing Codes Hierarchically

There are a few different ways you can organize your codes. For instance, you could name a group of codes with a similar prefix:

FAM: health

FAM: well being

FAM: defn.

Then, they would also show up together in the Code Manager and be easy to put in a family.

 You could also use number headings, as long as you stipulate in a project comment what each number stands for. You can also group codes together by prefacing them with a symbol. For instance:


*focus groups

*content analysis

will get sorted together because they all have a star.

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