The History of the Development and Propagation of QDA Software

Urszula Wolski

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


In the 1980s researchers began to develop software for the analysis of qualitative data. Since then such computer packages have transformed the nature and practice of qualitative research. This paper identifies and examines the processes that led to the development of a QDAS community from the perspective of social worlds theory. Based on interviews with developers and propagators of qualitative data analysis software (QDAS), this paper discusses its history and development, illustrating how a community emerged from the intersection of two social worlds, the computing world and the social science world. It shows use of QDAS spread to the wider social science community via informal and formal social networks, and the ways in which the simultaneous development of communications technologies enabled its further expansion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Pages (from-to)6-20
Number of pages15
JournalThe Qualitative Report
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2018


  • QDAS
  • Propagation of QDAS
  • Social Networks
  • Invisible Colleges
  • Interactive Technologies
  • History of QDAS
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Diffusion of Innovations


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