ATLAS.ti for Qualitative Research: Analysis Tools

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

Using Analysis Tools

There are other tools available for analysis that you can use. Many of these are available under the Analysis menu

The WordCruncher tool, for instance, allows you to generate a spreadsheet of how often specific words are repeated in one or all of your primary documents.  You can generate output in ATLAS or pipe it to an Excel file by checking or unchecking the appropriate box.  Addtional options involve cleaning, which gets rid of non alphabetic characters, and using a stoplist, which will not count "stopwords" such as "and," "a," "the," etc.  Additionally, you can choose to ignore case in your word count.  

Once you run the Word Cruncher, all the occurences of all your words will be displayed in a spread sheet fashion, representing words in PDs.  Each column represents how many times each word occured in each PD.  See below for an example.  While this data opens in an excel spreadsheet, you can save it as a comma separated value (.csv) format and load it into quantitative analysis programs such as SPSS or R for further analysis.

You can build your own stoplist to use instead of the ATLAS.ti loadout, which appears to constitute the common English stoplist.  Creating and running your stoplist is relatively simple, but determining the words to put in it may not be.  A solution is to run the word cruncher without a stoplist, or with the ATLAS.ti loadout stoplist, and sort in Excel for the most occurring words.  These words may be common English words as well, but not included in the stoplist and not evident of any conceptual framework.  You can then add these words to your stoplist.

To create a stoplist, simply type all the words you want excluded from your search into a plain text editor such as notepad or notepad++, save it with a title and in a location you can remember.  Then, in the pop-up box for the Word Cruncher, type in the complete relative path for your stoplist with the file extension.  For example, if I created a stoplist entitled stoplist1.txt and saved it on my desktop, the path would look something like 


Query Tool

The Query Tool allows you to search subsets or combinations of codes, code families, documents, and document families to see analytic connections more clearly. For instance, when I open the query tool, I can start by choosing a code or code family I would like to examine more closely. By double clicking, I add the code or code family to my query menu. Then, I can choose the Scope button.

Now, I can use the Scope tool to decide how I want to narrow my query. For instance, I might decide I want to search for quotations under the code “reasons for having kids” that are in the primary document family for education::University degree so that I can see the reasons that people I interviewed with a university degree want to have kids.


There are also other tools that allow you to query multiple codes and documents at the same time. For more information about how to use these, please review the relevant section of the Atlas.ti manual here:

Code Co-Occurence Explorer

Another great tool in Atlas.ti isthe Code Co-Occurrence Explorer, which allows you to look for similar codes across documents. Learning this tool takes too much time to cover in this session. For more information about this tool, review this information:

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