Small packages for Big (qualitative) Data
Article first published online: 11 FEB 2014
© 2013 by The American Anthropological Association. Some rights reserved.
Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings
Volume 2013, Issue 1, pages 44–61, September 2013
How to Cite
ERWIN, K. and POLLARI, T. (2013), Small packages for Big (qualitative) Data. Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, 2013: 44–61. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-8918.2013.00005.x
- Issue published online: 11 FEB 2014
- Article first published online: 11 FEB 2014
Smart devices and online research platforms are changing the landscape of qualitative data collection and analysis. While data collection mechanisms have flourished, analytic tools to work with that data have not meaningfully evolved. Changes in professional practice and advances in technology are creating new opportunities—and new pressure—to develop software tools that are focused, simple to use, fit flexibly with a variety of analytic processes, adapt to different data sets and do not lock data into proprietary formats or researchers into predefined analytic processes. We call such tools Small Packages for Big (Qualitative) Data. This paper defines the concept and introduces three such early stage tools—Voyant, Mandala Browser and Nineteen, and links qualitative research to another field experiencing similar changes and tool development, the Digital Humanities. Lastly, we present a case study to demonstrate how Small Packages can focus investigations, build early-stage familiarity with data, and inform subsequent analysis.