Dear ATLAS.ti users,
With this winter dragging on in Berlin, I'm really looking forward to the summer. And with good reason: The ATLAS.ti User Conference is coming up in August!
In this month's newsletter, we will take a look back at how the first conference came into being in 2013 as well as a look forward at what you can expect from this year's events.
This year's theme is “Qualitative Data Research and Beyond,” and we are already looking forward to hearing what in creative ways you are putting ATLAS.ti to good use in your research and work.
I remember fondly how we invited you to our first conference in Berlin. We had planned three days of intensive discussions about methodology, technology, practical applications, and theoretical considerations around qualitative data analysis with ATLAS.ti. We were ever so thrilled that attendees from more than twenty countries and four continents followed our invitation and gathered together to shine a spotlight on how our software impacts you.
Meeting the people who are using ATLAS.ti is always a great inspiration to the entire team here in Berlin and our trainers and consultants all over the world. With this second conference we want to continue what we hope will become a cherished tradition in fostering an interdisciplinary and cross-border dialog.
I hope to see many of you between August 26 and 28. Feel free to register already here.
Director of Business Operations
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A Look Back and a Look Forward: ATLAS.ti User Conference 2015
“Let's do this again!” That was the tenor when the international delegation of users, trainers, consultants, and developers parted ways after the inaugural ATLAS.ti User Conference in 2013. Attendees had travelled from all corners of the world — from twenty countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe — for three days of intensive discussions about methodology, technology, practical applications, and theoretical considerations centered around qualitative data analysis with ATLAS.ti.
This year, from August 26 to August 28, we are doing it again: The ATLAS.ti User Conference goes into the next round.
Before we look forward, let us take a look back. The conference was the brainchild of expert trainer Dr. Susanne Friese who wanted to create an inspiring environment that would allow attendees to (1) meet and exchange experiences with fellow ATLAS.ti users, (2) foster a healthy debate among ATLAS.ti trainers and consultants around training issues, and (3) shape the future of the software through open dialog with ATLAS.ti's developers.
She says: “I was asked to write a few words about how and why the idea for an ATLAS.ti conference was born. Reflecting on it, I was reminded about a recent “serendipity.” I was searching for data of a study I had conducted in 1992 and looked through my old computer backups. I found a backup from 2003 and to my surprise all files still fit on a single CD ROM! Incidentally, I also found our first ideas for an ATLAS.ti conference — the Atcon 2000:
There is nothing much to add to this text. Thomas Muhr and the ATLAS.ti project has always fostered dialogue between developers and users. With growth and increasing professionalization there is naturally more distance today and therefore it becomes even more important to create a space where people can meet in person to discuss issues and to exchange ideas. So I took up the idea again (as obviously there was no Atcon in the year 2000) and this time I pushed it so it actually became reality in the summer of 2013.
Personally, I am a trainer, consultant and teacher by heart, but also an academic. This, I guess, partly influenced the format. A great number of ATLAS.ti users are also academics and part of what they do is conduct research, go to conferences, present their research, write papers, and publish them. Often the question is posed: ‘Can you recommend studies in my research area that have used ATLAS.ti (and have described how they have used it)?' The answer is: Yes, there are studies that mention their use of ATLAS.ti – but within the format of a paper there is little room to include a lengthy methodology section and to explain how the software was used. Thus, from research papers we learn little on how ATLAS.ti was implemented.
This I wanted to change. The focus of the conference presentations is on how ATLAS.ti is used, and the conference proceedings over time will hopefully turn into a nice collection of papers that users can consult if they want to learn about the various usages and implementations of ATLAS.ti (in addition to providing an opportunity for attendees to add another publication to their CV).”
The first volume of papers that discuss how ATLAS.ti is being used in concrete research examples is published with the Universitätsverlag of the Technical University Berlin and can be accessed here.
The 2013 ATLAS.ti User Conference
A keynote speech by Nicholas Woolf, ATLAS.ti trainer and consultant who coaches researchers on their projects, started things off. It was dedicated to the topic of "How To Use ATLAS.ti Powerfully” and dealt with the question how researchers can use the program throughout each project from start to finish without sacrificing the emergent nature of qualitative research. It set the tone for the conference with high profile speakers from the international ATLAS.ti research community that hosted research presentations, workshops and interactive roundtables.
The topics that threaded through the fabric of the conference were community, methods and teaching, and new formats:
Community: As the Director of Training and Partnership Development, Ricardo Contreras gave a glimpse of his behind-the-scenes work at ATLAS.ti where he had been developing — and continues to develop — innovative approaches to foster community among ATLAS.ti researchers and instructors.
Methods & Teaching: The manifest objective of the conference was to “foster dialog on qualitative methods”. University professors,instructors as well as students shared their take on the challenges of using ATLAS.ti for different approaches. From coding relatively standardized documents using a pre-existing code scheme to more emergent processes which involved extensive memo-ing at the outset, the research examples ran the entire gamut. Ricardo Contreras and Jeanine Evers gave practical workshops on their teaching experiences with special considerations for integrating ATLAS.ti in the classroom as well as teaching across cultures.
New Formats: We had just launched ATLAS.ti Mobile, apps for iPhone and iOS and Android tablets, and Dr. Susanne Friese demonstrated how these new tools allow data collection and coding on the go. Friedrich Markgraf, lead developer for ATLAS.ti Mobile, sat in on the session and welcomed feedback.
In their conference report, attendees and speakers Jeanine Evers and Christina Silver highlighted the importance of “(b)ringing together developers and users of qualitative software (as) useful not only in sharing methodological and practical experiences and their implication on teaching, but also in considering future developments. Indeed, the ATLAS.ti development team were was? present throughout, and expressed genuine interest in users' needs in contributing to future developmental direction.” You can read the full article here.
The 2015 ATLAS.ti User Conference: An Outlook
The 2015 User Conference will take place in ATLAS.ti's 's birth place again. While the last one took place at the Technical University Berlin, this year we invite you to the Abion Spreebogen Waterside Hotel in Berlin.
The hotel is located in Berlin between Mitte and Tiergarten, a very attractive location on the banks of the Spree River. From here, you can reach all the city's highlights within minutes or you can explore Berlin's waterways starting from the hotel's own pier, where ships take passengers through the region's canals and rivers.
On behalf of everyone at ATLAS.ti, Susanne Friese looks forward to another inspiring conference: “A lot of things were already done right at the first conference. The atmosphere was great, the setting invited small group discussions and exchange beyond the more formal conference sessions, exactly as I was hoping for.
This video shares a few conference moments.
What has changed this year is the venue. In order to concentrate more on content, we decided to “outsource” organizational issues and therefore, this year the conference takes place in a hotel. As last year, we will have one big room with cabaret seating where all delegates can meet and a number of smaller rooms. Food and beverages will be provided (and included in the conference fee) so that there will be room and time for informal meetings to discuss professional issues or just to get to know fellow ATLAS.ti users on a more personal level.
If you want to publish in the conference proceedings, this time we will ask you to submit your full paper after the conference (rather than before) as last time most people wanted to revise their paper based on what they have learned and discussed at the conference.
Once again I would like to include a pecha kucha session as it was well received and everyone was surprised how much and how well one can get across the major message of a paper in just 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Therefore, I would like to encourage everyone to accept the challenge and to submit an idea for a pecha kucha presentation. In addition to the audience — who I am sure of will be appreciating this format again — all presenters will be rewarded with a little something special. Last time, presenters received Swiss chocolates. This year…. well, you will have to come, present and see!”
Submit Your Paper!
Are you an ATLAS.ti trainer or consultant? Do you work on interesting research projects with ATLAS.ti and would like to share your experience with the ATLAS.ti community? We welcome your paper submission. Please fill out the abstract submission form.
The theme for this year's conference is Qualitative Data Analysis and Beyond.
These are the central themes for discussion:
Qualitative Data Analysis and Beyond — ATLAS.ti is a tool that can be used for applications beyond traditional qualitative data analysis. For example, students might use the program to take notes in class and organize those notes through coding; people working on a thesis (qualitative or not) can use it for doing their literature reviews; people working in planning or program evaluation can take advantage of the concept mapping features; professors may use it to teach any kind of courses that require a tool to organize material. We use it to organize and evaluate the submitted abstracts for the conference. Tell us how you are using ATLAS.ti beyond traditional qualitative data analysis.
Doing Research with ATLAS.ti — We also invite all of you who use ATLAS.ti for traditional qualitative data analysis to submit an abstract on their research project. The focus should be on the use of ATLAS.ti throughout the research process – starting with data collection, e.g. by using ATLAS.ti mobile, transcription, coding and further analysis. Further we are interested on papers that discuss the analysis of various data types (text, image, audio, video, geo data) and on issues related to assuring quality criteria and how you reported and presented your findings.
Methods and Methodologies — ATLAS.ti users come from a multiplicity of academic disciplines, use the software to research a variety of subject-matters, and approach their analysis guided by different methodological traditions within the qualitative paradigm. What are you studying with the aid of ATLAS.ti? What methodologies and subsequently methods are guiding your research? How does your disciplinary background shape the way you approach data analysis with ATLAS.ti? Tell us about your experience.
Teaching Qualitative Methods — Are you teaching a qualitative method class including the use of ATLAS.ti as an analysis tool? We invite you to share your experience, the do's and the don'ts, the successes and failures, and anecdotes and outcomes.
Please fill out the abstract submission form.
In addition to the regular conference sessions, we will offer a number of short workshops on special topics like photo voice, video analysis, or doing a literature review with ATLAS.ti. And last but not least, you will be among the first to see the brand new ATLAS.ti version 8.
Long story short: We'd love for you to join us in Berlin this coming summer. Register here!
FROM THE BLOG
Teaching Qualitative Research Methods with ATLAS.ti: Beyond Data Analysis
To round out this month's newsletter, we would like to share one of the articles from our increasingly popular ATLAS.ti Blog.
Teaching Qualitative Research Methods with ATLAS.ti: Beyond Data Analysis aims at motivating professors to incorporate ATLAS.ti into their teaching curriculum in universities. It shares the authors' perspective on how to use ATLAS.ti in teaching university courses in different areas.
Abstract: During the spring, summer and fall 2013 semesters, graduate students in qualitative methods courses were required to use ATLAS.ti as a project management tool for their semester's work in order to develop the skills they would need to continue its use during the thesis phase of their programs. In these courses students are typically engaged in independent field work projects, in which they are reviewing the literature, collecting data, transcribing, and/or engaging in data analysis. Each of these phases were conducted within ATLAS.ti and shared with the instructor at regular intervals throughout the semester for feedback. By introducing ATLAS.ti during coursework, positioning it as a project management tool in addition to a data analysis tool, and supporting students' early experiences with its use, we anticipate that these novice researchers will be more likely to continue using the tool to support their work. Best practices recommendations include: providing adequate access and technical support, balancing methodological and technical instruction, creating meaningful student assignments, and providing effective feedback.
Trena M. Paulus, Ph.D., is a Professor of Qualitative Research at the University of Georgia in the College of Education. She holds her M.S. and Ph.D. in Education from Indiana University and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Ohio University. Her research interests include digital tools for qualitative research and the application of conversation and discourse analysis methodologies to online talk.
Ann M. Bennett is a doctoral candidate in Theory and Practice in Teacher Education at the University of Tennessee. She holds a B.A. in History and Political Science, a B.A. in Classics, and an M.S. in Education from the University of Tennessee. Her research focuses on the use of anti-deficit frameworks to develop counter-narratives surrounding literacy achievement in impoverished and urban areas.
Read the full article on our ATLAS.ti Blog.