Welcome to the African Institute for ATLAS.ti

September 23, 2015

The African Institute for ATLAS.ti (AIA) is a service unit within the Centre for Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. The AIA aims to support African academics and researchers carrying out qualitative data analysis with the assistance of ATLAS.ti. The intention of the AIA is to build a cadre of qualitative researchers across Africa who will produce rigorous quality research utilizing ATLAS.ti.

THE AIA grew out of the need to support PhD students from all over Africa who came to Stellenbosch University to complement their doctoral education. In particular, they were looking for training in ATLAS.ti because their own universities could not provide the support the students needed. Dr. Lauren Wildschut together with Dr. Susanne Friese developed the idea of an ATLAS.ti training and support unit that could serve both South Africans and those who live in other countries of the African continent. The AIA was founded in June 2012 and was officially launched in January 2013, during the University’s African Doctoral Academy 5th Annual Summer School in Research Methods.

Dr Lauren Wildschut (AIA), Dr Susanne Friese (ATLAS.ti, Berlin) and Prof Johann Mouton (CREST)

The AIA provides a range of support to its members. This includes:

  • Providing updated information on training sessions – all courses offered by the AIA are advertised on the ATLAS. ti homepage at www.atlasti.com as well as on its own webpage (www.sun.ac.za/aia)
  • Assisting with the bulk buying of student licenses for Stellenbosch University students and for qualifying AIA members.
  • Assisting and accrediting introductory instructors of ATLAS.ti.
  • Providing on-line support for simple analysis queries with ATLAS.ti.

In December 2014, Dr Wildschut and Dr Friese assessed and finally accredited one student level and four introductory level trainers. They are: Mr. Richard Shambare, Dr. Diane Bell, Ms. Bronwyne Coetzee, Ms. Kathy Lawrence, and Dr. Pieter Steenkamp. These trainers have already begun working inde- pendently and by doing so have helped meet the demand for ATLAS.ti training in South Africa and beyond.

The Stellenbosch University Business School provides all MBA students with an ATLAS.ti license. All Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) students at CREST receive an ATLAS.ti license as well. The AIA has also accredited introductory and advanced ATLAS.ti courses and students participating in these courses will receive formal accreditation from Stellenbosch University. Lorenza Williams, a PhD student who had completed both Introductory and Advanced Courses in ATLAS.ti was offered a valuable opportunity to work with Dr. Friese at the prestigious Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. After her stay in Germany, Lorenza returned to Stellenbosch and created a support group for other PhD students who are doing qualitative research. She had the following to say about her experience at the Institute:

“With the help of Dr. Wildschut at the African Institute for ATLAS.ti (AIA) which is based in Stellenbosch University, the opportunity was realized and I am writing this letter now from the land of ATLAS.ti. I have been invited by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, Germany where Dr. Friese is affiliated. My scholarship is for three months to work on a one-on-one basis with Dr. Friese, analyzing my interview and focus group data: writing up the research methodology and results chapters for my PhD; as well as writing a research paper with Dr. Friese” (Lorenza Willliams, Stellenbosch University).

The AIA has also motivated researchers in other parts of Africa to create similar initiatives. One of them is Dr. Justus Twesigye from the Department of Social Work, Makerere University, Uganda. After attending the Introductory and Advanced ATLAS.ti courses at Stellenbosch University, he went back to Uganda and began working on the development of the East African ATLAS.ti Center, which will start training students at Makerere University and other universities in Uganda very soon.

One of our newly accredited ATLAS.ti trainers, Bronwyne Coetzee, recently offered training in ATLAS.ti to staff members of Creative Consulting Development Works, an NGO in Cape Town. Bronwyne is currently a PhD student at the department of Psychology (Stellenbosch University), and has offered a number of training opportunities to fellow and junior students within her department. See below a picture showing Bronwyne teaching a workshop.

Finally, the AIA hopes to become a virtual support network for qualitative researchers using ATLAS.ti and for Master’s and Doctoral students who utilize ATLAS.ti for literature reviews or analysis of qualitative data. The future looks bright for AIA. If you would like to contact us, please do so by writing to the Institute director, Dr. Lauren Wildschut at [email protected]

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