The use of computer technology has emerged as a significant component in qualitative research methodology. This article differentiates between mechanical and conceptual activities in qualitative analysis and discusses the interplay between them. Advantages of computer technology in the mechanical activities of data management and concerns about the use of computer programs in conceptual/analytic activities are discussed. Guidelines for the judicious application of computers in qualitative research are outlined. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.