ATLAS.ti for Qualitative Research: Getting Started

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

Creating a new project

To create a new project or Hermeneutic Unit (HU), click on the Project button in the menu and choose New Hermeneutic Unit.Then, click on the Project again menu in the New Hermeneutic Unit and choose "Save As"

2. Next, choose where to save your new project. Atlas.ti has its own space for you to save called Textbank, which is available under Documents>Scientific Software>Textbank. You do not have to save here, but this is where Atlas.ti automatically looks when you ask it to open a current project, so it may be easier

Adding or Removing Documents in Your Project

In order to do any work, you will need something to work on.  ATLAS.ti supports a variety of file formats for the different media that you can import.  Choose Documents>New>and Add Documents, and then select the Documents you want to add to your project. Note: You can simplify this process by moving all of the documents you want to add into one folder on your desktop and then selecting them all.

Once you add the documents, you can view them in a couple of places. First, you can see the titles in the Documents drop down along the top of the screen. You can also click on the P-Docs button to open the Primary Document Manager, which will show you the items that have been saved in your project.

To remove a document from your project, open the Primary Document Manager again by clicking on the P-Docs button, select the item you want to remove, and then press the Documents button and choose Remove from Document. CAUTION: If you do this after you have begun assigning codes to a document, you will lose all of those codes once you remove it from the project.



Backing Up Your Work: the Copy Bundle

Atlas.ti recommends backing up your project each time you work on it by creating a Copy Bundle, which is a compressed file with your work. To create your Copy Bundle, click on the Project menu, choose Save to save any changes you have made to the project, and then choose Save Copy Bundle

Then, a new window will open asking you to confirm that you want to save the Copy Bundle. Click on Create Copy Bundle and then choose where you want to save it. NOTE: Save you Copy Bundle on the cloud, a flash drive, or somewhere else safe in case your computer crashes.

A Note on PDFs

If you have ever read a PDF file and tried to copy and paste blocks of text, you may have noticed that often you get that pesky rectangular selection box rather than a nice clean line by line selection like you would in a program like Word.  This is due to the fact that the PDF has not been "read" by an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system that makes the PDF image machine processable.  It is more a matter of proper targeting.  If you are too far in the margin of a PDF, you will get the rectangular box.  If you are right where you need to be, you will be able to select and code parts of text normally.  Practicing your aim may be annoying, so you can always convert the PDFs into Rich Text Format (.rtf) or simple Text format (.txt).  

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