ATLAS.ti is a powerful qualitative analysis software offering the greatest variety of tools for accomplishing all the tasks associated with a systematic approach to unstructured data, i.e. data that cannot be meaningfully analyzed by formal, statistical approaches. It helps you to explore the complex phenomena hidden in your textual and multimedia data. For coping with the inherent complexity of the tasks and the data, ATLAS.ti offers a powerful, intuitive environment that keeps you focused on the analyzed materials. It is a tightly integrated suite of tools that support your analysis of written texts, audio, video, and graphic data. The integration of its tools is designed to perfectly support the work flow of the qualitative researcher. Hence, ATLAS.ti brings to the job highly sophisticated tools to manage, extract, compare, explore, and reassemble meaningful segments of large amounts of data in flexible and creative, yet systematic ways.
ATLAS.TI – THE KNOWLEDGE WORKBENCH
The image of our software as a “knowledge workbench” is more than just a lively analogy. Analytical work involves tangible elements: research material requires piecework, assembly, reworking, complex layouts, and some special “tooling”. A well-stocked workbench provides you with the necessary instruments to thoroughly analyze and evaluate, search and query your data, to capture, visualize and share your findings.
SOFTWARE FOR CREATIVE ANALYSIS
A typical project deals with sifting through large sets of diverse documents, notes, and multi-media files, and examining and comparing such sources regarding a specific line of inquiry. While the technical side of selecting, and organizing useful portions of your data might seem manageable when dealing with just a handful of source documents, it can tend to become overwhelming as the number of sources mount. Enter a specialized software package like ATLAS.ti: It lets you extract, categorize, and interlink data segments from a large variety and volume of source documents. Based on your analysis, the software supports you in discovering patterns and testing hypotheses. With numerous output options and collaboration tools, your analysis is easily accessible to yourself and others.
SOME BASIC TERMS AND CONCEPTS
To understand how ATLAS.ti handles data, visualize your entire project as an intelligent “container” that keeps track of all your data. This container is your ATLAS.ti project. The project keeps track of the paths to your source data and stores the codes, code groups, network views, etc. that you develop during your work. Your source data files are copied and stored in a repository. The standard option is for ATLAS.ti to manage the documents for you in its internal database. If you work with larger audio or video files, they can be linked “externally” to your project to preserve disk space. All files that you assign to the project (except those externally linked) are copied, i.e. a duplicate is made for ATLAS.ti’s use. Your original files remain intact and untouched in their original location. Your source data can consist of text documents (such as interviews, articles, reports); images (photos, screen shots, diagrams), audio recordings (interviews, broadcasts, music), video clips (audiovisual material), PDF files (papers, brochures, reports), and even geo data (locative data using Open Street Map). Once your various documents are added or linked to an ATLAS.ti project, your real work can begin. Most commonly, early project stages involve coding different data sources. Coding is the basic activity you engage in when using ATLAS.ti and is the basis of everything else you will do. In practical terms, coding refers to the process of assigning categories, concepts, or “codes” to segments of information that are of interest to your research objectives. We have modeled this function to correspond with the time-honored ATLAS.ti 8 Windows – Quick Tour BASIC CONCEPTS 7 practice of marking (underlining or highlighting) and annotating text passages in a book or other documents. In its central conceptual underpinnings, ATLAS.ti has drawn deliberately from what might be called the “paper and pencil paradigm.” The user interface is designed accordingly, and many of its processes are based on—and thus can be better understood by—this analogy. Because of this highly intuitive design principle, you will quickly come to appreciate the margin area as one of your most central and preferred work space—even though ATLAS.ti almost always offers a variety of ways to accomplish any given task.
ATLAS.ti offers numerous functionalities that are either completely unique or clearly stand out from the rest of all QDA software packages out there. Here are just a few.
Meaningful Coding Hierarchies: The ATLAS.ti Object Explorer is a clickable tool that lists all work and connections between documents and their quotes. It shows connections of every code with every other code and provides sophisticated views of the coding scheme ( including all the interconnections). Of course, hierachical views of the coding scheme are also possible.
Grouping: ATLAS.ti lets you group codes without changing the coding scheme via its simple-to-use code families (shortcuts to codes)
Transitive Relationships: A unique and extremely powerful feature of ATLAS.ti is its capability of letting you define functional relationships, embodied in transitive (or hierarchical) links, such as ‘is a’, ‘part of; ‘causes’ etc. Its powerful Query Tool lets you retrieve data based on transitivity.
Flexible Searching / Retrieving / Filtering: ATLASti makes it quick and easy to focus attention on parts of the dataset without even opening its dedicated search tools. Double clicking on code and/or document families filters your work in various ways, providing great insight into the dataset without . Codes can be sorted in multiple ways in ATLAS.ti; this adds great flexibility to the ways information about progress and frequency can be produced.
< ATLAS.ti sports powerful search & retrieve functions with Boolean, semantic, and proximity-based operators. Searches always locate coded quotations in context which keeps you very close to the source data at all times.
Comprehensive Annotations: ATLAS.ti gives you numerous different ways to fully annotate your material. Attach extensive comments (even containing multimedia and embeded objects!) to any program object, i.e. quotations, documents, codes or networks. Or create standalone memos that become automous objects and are centrally listed, accessible and searchable.
Powerful Hyperlinking: Hyperlinking allows for precise point-to-point jumping around the dataset at text level. ATLAS.ti enables this very effectively for both text and multimedia, e.g. audiovisual data. In text the hyperlinks flagged in the margin view are easily navigated by clicking.
UNIQUE MULTIMEDIA CAPABILITIES
ATLAS.ti’s multimedia capabilities are and have always been second to none (remember that ATLAS.ti introduced multimedia analysis features as early 1996!)
Create quotations in any type of audio / video /
Annotate multimedia quotations
Hyperlink between multimedia quotations and text files (and vice versa, of course…)
Assign multimedia files like textual files as standalone documents
EASY TO LEARN AND WELL SUPPORTED
No doubt, ATLAS.ti is a sophisticated and complex piece of software. However, despite its many formidable capabilities, independent testers have praised it to be “very interactive and flexible” (Lewins/Silver, p.) as well as easy to get started with.
Nearly all activities that you will need to perform in ATLAS.ti are based on drag and drop: Linking, coding, and merging, use of the data managers and last but not least its fully interactive margin area are extremely user-friendly and work just the way you would expect it. There is simply no more intuitive and no more efficient way of working than the one you’re already used to from countless Windows applications.
A great manual and a live help system, easy-to-follow quick start instructions and especially a growing library of online video tutorials help you get started without too much trouble.
Our much-praised online support is included in the price of every license. And if you still feel you need more or more specific guidance, numerous independent trainers offer dedicated workshops all over the world.
These sources of support are available to you at all times:
Comprehensive Program Manual
From its first release over a decade and a half ago, ATLAS.ti has been hailed by users for the way it has been designed with their concrete needs and the way they work in mind. Here are a few highlights:
Interface: Any combination of functions can be open together, which allows equally for extremely comfortable and efficient work. A major independent study specifically praised ATLAS.ti for its “slick interactivity between different objects and tasks” which contributes to the high degree of “fluidity with which you can flick between views and functions.” (Lewins/Silver, p.) Unlike other programs, ATLAS.ti employs line wrapping of text when the window size is reduced.
Interactive Margin: ATLAS.ti introduced the classic margin view as early as 1996.
It is ATLAS.ti’s perhaps most central work view, and it facilitates work by providing an extremely intuitive environment that emulates a traditional paper-and-pencil feel. Your codes are conveniently in view at all times, even appearing simultaneously as you code.
Its ability to let you choose between viewing codes, memos or hyperlinks, or combinations of them is unique to ATLAS.ti and makes it the most intuitive and most flexible QDA tool out there.
Navigation, Units of Context: ATLAS.ti displays the widest variety of units of context while at the same giving you the most precise text segments at the lower levels (word, sentence, paragraph). Clear and concise points of reference (such as line and paragraph numbers) always make moving around–even large documents–easy.
TEAM-ENABLED, COLLABORATION-SAVVY, AND SECURE
ATLAS.ti is fully teamwork-oriented and puts special emphasis on supporting group work.
Its project merging capability is superior to that of any other QDA software because ATLAS.ti uses a stronger and more rigorously designed authorship model than anyone else.
Each object is clearly assigned to an author, allowing for flexible merging, filtering, and multiplication of projects. And ATLAS.ti’s strong authorship rights model also supports a concise security model.
Merging a project from a multitude of sources–local or remote!–is just as you would expect: straightforward, logical, and simple.
Various tools and functions make collaborative work a breeze–all the more when you consider that collaboration in most cases means several individuals primarily working separately on independent aspects of a problem. The crucial point is the software’s ability to exchange work between users and to merge contributions into a larger context.
ATLAS.ti has highly developed, powerful functions to perform all of these tasks reliably. Its Merge tools and its Copy Bundle function, along with its support for data access on remote drives and even through VPN, help you to master all aspects of collaborative project management and flexibly support the way your research team likes to work.
UNRIVALED EXPORTING AND REPORTING FEATURES
ATLAS.ti understands the necessity to sometimes re-use research results for processing and publication in other applications. It therefore sports the widest range of export and reporting facilities of any QDA package.
SPSS, Excel, and HTML are standard export formats for your projects. But they by no means exhaust the possibilities for integration with your IT demands.
Through its native XML output and and assisted by an extensive number of XSLT-filters that come included in the package, ATLAS.ti can export your complete data to virtually ANY application. By supporting the open standard XML, ATLAS.ti is the first QDA tool to create a platform for the universal exchange, storage, and processing of QDA data.
Formats that can be supported by implementing this standard are as manifold as their intended purposes: Elegant reporting on- and offline, professional pre-print, conversion into the most diverse application formats, and many more.
ATLAS.ti comes with several dozens filters for reporting, exchanging data between users, and export to application formats, all of which can be modified and adapted by users to suit their specific purposes. Custom programming services are also available.
LONG UPGRADE CYCLES, PROFIT FROM ONGOING DEVELOPMENT
ATLAS.ti is known for its long upgrade cycles (we release major versions only every few years), but also for its active update policy that always gives you that latest available developments–for free!
We release numerous free updates and minor version upgrades each year, almost all of which are not mere “bug-fixes” but add significant new functionality.
Typically, there are somewhere between 10 to 20 “mini-upgrades” during the life-cycle of a major version. What others tout as new versions (and charge users for are considered included in the initial purchase price. Your software keeps “growing” and adapting to new developments for years to come–all free of charge to you.
When we do release major versions, they present significant steps forward and introduce powerful, innovative, and elegant new paradigms not available anywhere else. Simply German engineering at its best.
ATLAS.ti 8 Windows represents a paradigmatic shift towards the future. This shift is represented in a new interface, a change from being an object-oriented application to one that is function-oriented; the move from menus to ribbons.
The interface of ATLAS.ti 8 Windows has changed. The top hanging menus have been replaced by a system of ribbons. Some of those ribbons are contextual in the sense that they are dependent on the current selected item in the application. For example, once a document is loaded and a segment is selected, the options for creating and commenting quotations, coding and other related tasks are activated. The image below shows a general view of the interface with documents and a network opened side-by-side.
There are five core tabs, as shown below: Home, Search Project, Analyze, Import/Export and Support.
Additionally, there is the ribbon backstage under File that gives access to the options for information on the project, to create a new project, save and save as the project, merge two projects, export the project, close it, exit it and other options.
Docked And Floated Windows
ATLAS.ti will remember this as your preferred setting for the current session.
Working With Tabs And Multiple Regions
If you want to see the documents side-by-side, you can move one of the documents into a different tab group. You have the option to move it into a tab group (or new region) to the right, left, below or above:
This can also be done with any other items you open, be it your list of codes, a memo, or a network. Below you see the docked Code Manager and a document side-by-side. Given sufficient screen space, you could also add a region at the bottom of the screen for instance to display a memo.
FULL PROJECT SEARCH
Under ‘Search Project’, you will find a powerful Keyword in Context tool, an improved version of the former Object Crawler found in ATLAS.ti 7 and earlier. Here you can search for specific words or combination of words, and look for them everywhere in the project: documents, memos, codes, document groups, memo groups, code groups, quotations, networks, code links and hyperlinks.
The results of the search are listed in an interactive list, where you can click on a specific hit and you will be able to see the term within its larger context. See the result list below.
NEW DATA FORMATS
Under the Import/Export ribbon tab (see below), you will find the following options: importing data from Twitter, Evernote, reference managers (e.g., Endnote) and survey data. Also, here you will find the option to export the project in SPSS format.
You do not have to have a Twitter account of your own to import Twitter data.
After starting the Twitter Import took, you enter a query, e.g. searching for a hashtag. You can also look for multiple hashtags or authors by using OR. For example: #WordAidsDay|#HIV|#Aids.
Further options are to select the most recent or the most popular tweets and whether to include retweets, images and profile images. The imported data is automatically coded based on the selection you make. Tweets often contain many more hashtags then the original one you searched for. Coding all hashtags often results in a lot of codes. Therefore you have an option to only code the queried hashtags. Further options are to code all authors and all mentioned Twitter users, the location and the language. Lastly you can decide whether a link should be created between authors and locations and between the authors and mentioned Twitter users.
Note that you only will not be able to import tweets older than one week. Queries at different times or on different computers may results in different tweets, as the final selection is done by Twitter and not within our control.
The result of the importation will produce a single document with all tweets and a set of codes for the hashtags, the author, the language of the tweet and the location from where the tweet was made. The tweets themselves become quotations. So, for example, all of the tweets under the hashtag ‘#Deco’ will be quotations linked to that code.
Tweets can be visualized graphically using one of the 11 automatic node layouts that come with ATLAS.ti 8 Windows. These networks show the linkages between authors, mentioned authors, hashtags, locations, languages and actual tweets. This provides a holistic view of the Twitter social networks. See an example below.
You can import your notes from Evernote libraries. Each note becomes a document in ATLAS.ti. Once imported, you can proceed to work with it as you would with any document: segment it, code it, annotate it, diagram it, and so on. See below some document imported from Evernote.
Reference Manager Import
Additionally, you are given the option of grouping the documents according to edition, volume, source, issue and number. You also have the option of naming each document by the first author’s name and the publishing year. Once imported, you can proceed to segment and code each bibliographic record as you would any other document of your project. The notes you wrote in association to your articles will show in ATLAS.ti as document ‘comments’. The figure below shows the Document Manager with the imported records (i.e., documents, the preview and the comment.
NEW WAYS OF WORKING WITH QUOTATIONS
Display And Modification
Quotations now have ‘handles’ (orange dots) that makes the quotation boundaries easy to see and also easy to modify. You simply need to drag the handles to a different position to modify the length of a quotation. This works for all media types.
Quotation Preview In Quotation Manager
The full quotation can now be preview in the Quotation Manager. This applies to all text, PDF and image quotations. The comment field is next to the preview area, which allows you to write comments whilst reading through your quotations.
Quotation Retrieval Made Easier
Quotation Retrieval windows can be docked on the right or left-hand side of your screen. This facilitates the process of reviewing your quotations in context.
Splitting a code is necessary if you have been lumping together many quotations under a broad theme. At some point, however, those codes need to be split up into smaller sub codes. This procedure is now much better facilitated with the new Split Code tool. In the Split Code dialogue, you see a list of the quotations coded with the code that was selected for splitting and all other related entities.
ATLAS.ti be default creates two sub codes, but you can add more when you click on the New Code button. Further options are to keep the original code including the quotations or without them. Before you decide which quotation goes into which sub code, you can read it in the preview area, or in the context of the data.
WORD CLOUDS RELOADED
A quick way to get a feeling for the content of a text document is by creating a word list or word cloud. Word clouds in A8 are colored and in addition to displaying word clouds for document, you can also create word clouds from coded content.
The following example shows two word clouds based on of coded data segments comparing answers provided with regards to reasons for having and reasons for not having children:
REDESIGNED QUERY TOOL
Under the Analyze tab, you will find the Query Tool, the Code Co-occurrence Explorer and Table, and the Code-Document-Table.
The Query Tool deserves a few extra words. This tool has been redesigned completely vis-à-vis version 7 and earlier. There is a graphic interface that facilitates the creation of queries, still using Set, Semantic and Proximity operators, as well as allowing for the specification of the scope of the query (i.e., the subset of documents where to conduct the query). The reports are now directly in Word or equivalent and the user is in control over what to include in that report.
Now, you can represent your networks in 11 different automatic layouts. You will select the one that best represents the meanings that you want to express through the network visualizations. These layouts are the following:
To create the network below, the Organic layout was used in combination with Poly Line.
Previews For Image Quotations
In addition to previewing documents and including full text quotations into a network, you can now also view image quotations in a network:
Networks can be exported in various graphic file formats, in xps and PDF format and inserted into other applications. Available graphic file formats:
To save a network in the Microsoft XPS format, select the EXPORT XPS option. The XPS format is Microsoft’s alternative to PDF. If you want to create a PDF file, make sure a PDF writer is installed on your computer. If so, you can select the PRINT option and chose your PDF Writer as printer.
ATLAS.ti 8 in addition to providing predefined reports also offers user configurable reports. This means you can decide what should be displayed in the report. Predefined reports are available in the Query Tool under the Report button.
Given the selections made above the output will contain the code name, the code comment, all quotations linked to this code, their comments and content. If you do not select the content option, only the quotation ID and and name are included in the report.
If you are familiar with the XML export options in ATLAS.ti 7, these are not yet available in the initial release version. However, they are expected to be included in version 8.1 (second quarter 2017).
Supported operating systems: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.0, 8.1 or Windows 10.
|RAM||4 GB||8 GB|
|Disk Space||100 MB||1GB and up, depending on project sizes|
|* Minimum configuration means just that: You will be able to install and run the program. You will be able to perform all basic functions and work with text and multimedia files. But please do not expect to work with larger or a great number of multimedia files or to run auxiliary applications in parallel.||** Bigger is better! The more available resources (especially RAM and processor power) your system has, the more comfortably and smoothly will you be able to work with ATLAS.ti. For work with multimedia material, embedded content, or for running auxiliary applications we strongly recommend PC systems of a solid mid- to upper-level capacity.|
MAC OS X
ATLAS.ti Mac runs on any Mac with OS version 10.8 ‘Mountain Lion’ or higher.
UNIX / LINUX
There is NO native Unix/Linux version of ATLAS.ti. — Please look into software that lets you create a virtual or simulated Windows PC environment on your Unix computer. Make sure you have enough system resources (especially RAM, processor speed) left for smooth operation.
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Software per l’analisi qualitativa di dati non strutturati.