Newsletter 2015-8


We welcome you to the November issue of INSIDE ATLAS.ti. This issue contains news items and an overview of the training activities scheduled for the months of November and December. In the Best Practices with ATLAS.ti section, we publish an article examining the importance of diagramming in ATLAS.ti, including examples from the Windows and Mac versions of the software. In the Case Studies with ATLAS.ti section, we offer you an interview with Dr. Edward Larkey, who discusses the way he has employed ATLAS.ti Mac in the analysis of television episodes. In this study, Dr. Larkey analyzes video documents. We hope these two articles give you insights into how to best utilize ATLAS.ti.

Enjoy!

Jörg Hecker
Director Business Operations


News

License raffle winners at QHR 2015

We would like to congratulate our three raffle winners who attended the Qualitative Health Research Conference (QHR) that was held in Toronto October 19-21. Linda Liu, from Ryerson University, Jonathan Avery and Chantalle Clarkin, both from the University of Ottawa, each won a single-user educational license.

ATLAS.ti is gold sponsor at the Southeastern Library Assessment Conference, USA.

ATLAS.ti is proud to be a Gold sponsor of the Southeastern Library Assessment Conference to be held on November 16 – 17 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The conference provides an important opportunity for those interested in advancing the library assessment and user experience conversation to gather together to discuss practical ideas and information.

Case Studies in ATLAS.ti

We would like to invite you to share with us your experiences using ATLAS.ti. We will ask you a few questions about you and your organization, the research you do, and the way in which you have used ATLAS.ti, as well and a couple of photographs related to your work. To complete the questionnaire, click here. Thank you!

ATLAS.ti shop shines in new light

Visit our new ATLAS.ti online shop by clicking here. We have put a great deal of thought into it in order to provide you with a quick and easy access to our products. After having re-launched the ATLAS.ti website, our online shop shines from now in the same light. Its clean design and lean layout make it a joy to look at and use. Check it out for yourself. We are convinced that you will not waste any time when purchasing our products.

The ATLAS.ti Trainer Certification Programs: Developing an International Network of Trainers and Consultants

ATLAS.ti certifies the knowledge and experience of students and professionals who want to provide training services in ATLAS.ti. The Certified ATLAS.ti Student Trainer program (CAST) provides certification to those students who are using the software in their theses and dissertation projects, so they can introduce their peers to the basics of the program. To apply, click here.

Our Certified Professional Trainer program (CAPT) provides certification to those seasoned academics and researchers who are using ATLAS.ti in their research projects and can demonstrate a high level of expertise in the use of the software. To apply, click here.

All certified instructors become part of a network of ATLAS.ti trainers and consultants and qualify for special support from us. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us by writing to [email protected].

Learning Resources

ATLAS.ti offers a variety of resources that facilitate the learning of the software. These include a complete library of video tutorials, weekly webinars, workshops of different kind, and a set of manuals and how-to documents.

For more information on our learning resources, do not hesitate to contact the staff of our training center. They would be happy to assist you. In the United States and Canada, you may call us toll free 1-866-880 0231. If calling from other countries, dial +1-541-286-4391. You may also write to us at [email protected]. You may access all of our training resources on our website by clicking here.

Free group introductory webinars

If your organization is evaluating ATLAS.ti or you want to introduce it to your students or at a professional meeting, schedule a presentation with one of our instructors. We would be happy to tailor the presentation to your needs. To schedule a presentation, please complete this registration form. For group demo webinars in the Spanish language, complete this form.

Free overview webinars

About once a week, we present overview webinars in the English and Spanish languages. These webinars are offered at different time zones, thus meeting needs of users worldwide. The English language webinars are offered at EST (New York) and SGT (Singapore) time zones. The Spanish language webinars are offered at CEST (Madrid) and ART (Buenos Aires) time zones. Once you click on the registration link, you will be given the option of showing the webinar time using your own time zone. To see our schedule, and to register, click here.

Online workshops (synchronous instruction)

Course

Language

Date/Time

Time Zone

Introduction to
ATLAS.ti 7 Windows

German

December 2nd, 3rd and 4th, each day from 9:00 am to 11:00

CEST

English

November 9 th , 11 th , and 13 th , each day from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm

December 9 th , 10 th and 11 th , each day from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm

EST

Spanish

December 15 th , 16 th and 17 th , each day from 5:00 pm y 7:00 pm

CET

Introduction to ATLAS.ti Mac

English

November 16 th , 18 th and 20th, each day from 1:00pm to 3:30pm

December 14 th , 15 th and 16 th , each day from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm

EST

Spanish

November 24 th , 25 th and 26 th , each day from 5:00pm a 7:00pm

EST

Advanced ATLAS.ti 7 Windows

English

December 2 nd , 3 rd and 4th, each day from 11:00am to 1:00pm

EST


BEST PRACTICES WITH ATLAS.ti


Diagramming in ATLAS.ti: Moving Towards a Holistic Understanding of the Data

Ricardo B. Contreras

Introduction

In previous Newsletter and blog articles, I have discussed data-level work in ATLAS.ti. I have highlighted the benefit of commenting, renaming and hyperlinking quotations; and have discussed several of the day-to-day operations involved in coding. In this issue of the newsletter, I will discuss diagramming and visualization of linkages and relationships. These processes have to do with data analysis, but they also complement data-level work. Indeed, as I will argue in a future article, good data-level work requires the fluid integration of segmentation, coding, writing and diagramming.

Linking one element to the other is an intrinsic aspect of qualitative data analysis, and this is what we do in ATLAS.ti. Friese (2014:221) states that a project with ATLAS.ti is a system of linkages. As we link one element to another, we are building our understanding of the data. Elements can be linked to each other through two types of links: an unnamed link (also known as a ‘second-class relation’) and a named link (also known as ‘first-class relation’). These linkages are displayed graphically in the form of network views.

Network Views of Unnamed Linkages

Unnamed links represent the connections between elements that do not reflect any meaning beyond the simple representation of a connection. The following are examples of these kinds of linkages:

Document groups (also known as Document Families in ATLAS.ti Windows)

Network view of a document family in ATLAS.ti 7 Windows.

The network views above show something very simple: that four documents are grouped together according to shared attributes (i.e., they are interviews). The lines that link the documents to the node that represents the group or family, do not have names. Therefore, it is not possible to derive any meanings to this association beyond the simple representation of the grouping.

Quotation linkages

Another example is given by the linkage between quotations, the codes connected to them, and the documents from which they come. See below:

Network view of a quotation in ATLAS.ti Mac

Network view of a quotation in ATLAS.ti 7 Windows

As it is shown above, a quotation has been coded by three codes, and it comes from a document that is coded by nine codes. In other words, that interviewee is discussing nine topics, and in relation to three of them she said what is represented by that quotation. Once again, the lines that link one element to the other do not have names and they just represent the fact that there is a connection between them; however, nothing can be implied about the meanings behind those linkages.

Memos and their linkages

Another example of network views displaying unnamed linkages is the one showing a memo linked to a set of quotations and codes. This network view can be interpreted as following: What I am writing in this memo is illustrated well by these three quotations and is related to the concepts represented by these three codes. See the figures below:

A network view of a memo in ATLAS.ti Mac

Network view of a memo in ATLAS.ti 7 Windows

Network Views of Named Linkages

ATLAS.ti also offers the possibility of building network representations connecting codes to codes, and quotations to quotations, through meanings. In these network views, the connecting lines do have names, and those names represent a meaning that the researcher has defined through interpretation. Hence, the establishment of these linkages is an intrinsic component of the data analysis process whereby the researcher has to determine the way in which concepts, themes, and the words of the participants relate to each other. These linkages are semantic. In the case of the code-to-code linkages, they can represent concept maps, cognitive maps, or folk taxonomies. See below a concept map representing the researcher understanding of funding processes, derived from the analysis of the data.

Network view showing code-to-code semantic linkages in ATLAS.ti Mac..

Network view showing code-to-code semantic linkages in ATLAS.ti 7 Windows

On the other hand, the network view representation of quotation-to-quotation linkages (also known as ‘hyperlinks’) resemble argumentation maps. That is, these network views show how arguments relate to each other. The researcher establishes these linkages as she asks herself questions such as:

  • How do study participants construct their arguments?
  • How do arguments contradict other arguments (if they do at all)?
  • How do they support each other?
  • Is what one person is saying expanding upon what the other person is saying? If so, how?
  • How do some arguments illustrate other arguments?

Like in the case of code-to-code semantic linkages, hyperlinks are the product of interpretation and they can only be established by the researcher, not automatically by the software. See below the following example.

Network view showing hyperlinks in ATLAS.ti Mac

Network view showing hyperlinks in ATLAS.ti 7 Windows

In this example, a picture quotation illustrates what two interviewees said about their health centers providing pediatric care and family medicine services. At the same time, what one of these interviewees said directly supports what another study participant said in regards to the same subject.

Network Views Showing Both Named and Unnamed Linkages

It is also possible to incorporate into a network view both unnamed and named linkages between elements of the project. For example, you may want to see graphically the codes connected to a quotation (or, in other words, what the study participant is talking about in a particular segment of the interview). If those codes are linked to each other semantically, then the network view will show those linkages as well. See below:

Network view showing a combination of unnamed and named linkages in ATLAS.ti 7 Windows.

In this example, in quotation 5:1 the interviewee is saying that the clinic in which she works receives foreign funding and that there is partnership in service provision. The network view also shows that, as part of interpretation, the researcher determined that ‘foreign funding’ is a source of funding. Hence, in a single network view, both unnamed and named linkages are displayed.

Conclusion

As you work on your analysis project with ATLAS.ti, it is always a good idea to examine in the form of network views the linkages that you have created in the regular process of working with your data. These network views allow you to look at the components of the analysis project not as individual pieces or fragments, but rather as a system of relationships. They facilitate the process of building a holistic representation of your findings.

At the same time, as you work on your project, stop once in a while and ask yourself if you can establish semantic relationships between the concepts that you are exploring in the analysis (or that emerge from the data), and as you do that, build maps that reflect your understanding of the point of view of study participants. You may also represent, through hyperlinking, how you understand the way in which study participants build their arguments.

It is important to visualize your work in the form of network views because through them you may have insights that you might not have been able to have by looking at fragments, at pieces disconnected from each other. Those insights constitute the core of an analysis process; through them you are building the holistic representation of your data that is essential in every qualitative data analysis process.

Reference Cited

Friese, Susanne. 2014. Qualitative Data Analysis with ATLAS.ti. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.


Case Studies in ATLAS.ti

In this issue of INSIDE ATLAS.ti , we interview Dr. Edward Larkey, Professor of German Studies and Intercultural Communication at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in the United States. In the interview, Dr. Larkey discusses the use of ATLAS.ti Mac in television studies. We hope you enjoy it!

Could you tell us something about yourself?

I received my MA in Modern German Literature at the Philipps-Universität, Marburg, Germany in 1978, and my Dr. Phil in Kulturwissenschaften (Cultural Studies) at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin (GDR) in 1986. My dissertation was entitled “Zur kulturpolitischen Rezeption der Rockmusik der USA in der DDR” (“The Influence of US Rock Music on the Cultural Policies of the GDR”) and was a discourse analysis of major East German publications on their reactions to the influx and popularity of Western (mainly US and British) rock music on the cultural policies of the East German State. My hypothesis was that the GDR was forced to establish a new popular music industry to counteract what it considered to be deleterious influences and popularity of Western music. This necessity ran counter to its declared intention to create an alternative music to those influences. A further book continuing that topic and incorporating documents that had been inaccessible prior to the fall of the Wall was published in 2007 as Rotes Rockradio: Populäre Musik und die Kommerzialisierung des DDR-Rundfunks (“Red Rock Radio: Popular Music and the Commercialization of GDR Radio”) (LIT-Verlag-In German).

My research involved the collection of ethnographic and historical data, interviews and archived documents pertaining to the above-mentioned topic(s). Currently, I have shifted my research to the field of television studies and cross-cultural analysis of television series that have originally been produced in one country, but reproduced in others and therefore adapted to the culturally specific conditions of that country’s broadcast sphere. I am directing a research group comprised of doctoral, masters, and undergraduate students, each of whom are comparing different television series, i.e., two different versions of the same series focusing on the pilot episodes.

In what study are you using ATLAS.ti? Tell us something about it.

The research project using ATLAS.ti will make a substantial contribution to the field of global television studies, which until now has neglected to investigate quantitative dimensions of televisual identity narratives inherent in the use of time. Previous research in the field has focused on content analyses and qualitative data, while quantitative data was primarily drawn from audience reception studies. The research based on ATLAS.ti will focus instead on the quantitative dimensions of the televisual texts produced under the economic, political, and cultural constraints of each national television industry. While much theoretical research has postulated the significance of time in the construction of identity narratives (Monaco 2000; Bordwell 1985; Metz 1974) in cinema studies, there have been no concrete applications of these ideas to broadly incorporate quantitative data into interpretive analyses of television and to the much more constrained conditions of transnational televisual narratives and their comparison.

Therefore, our ATLAS.ti-based research represents an innovative approach to film and television analysis, particularly within the framework of transnationally constituted national identity narratives such as the television format adaptations. These represent an increasingly significant aspect of media globalization that both homogenizes as well as helps distinguish hybrid national and transnational cultures and discourses.

Our project bases its work on the quantitative parameters of time, which are a finite variable in each episode of the series. Our assumption was that the adaptations could be compared according to their different economies of time, and that their respective televisual languages therefore could be quantified using appropriate methods of data collection. We are also seeking to incorporate data regarding intercultural and cross-cultural content into the analysis derived from a critical application Gert Hofstede’s (1980; 2001) dimensions of cultural variability. Our working assumptions are the following:

  • That the duration of multiple modes of communication inherent in the televisual narrative offers a quantitative basis for cross-cultural comparison of each version;
  • Each country has developed a specific multimodal televisual language that can be de-constructed and reconstructed using quantitative methods of analysis;
  • Qquantitative temporal data can be compiled with computer software such as ATLAS.ti on narrative structure, content, and sequencing based on the duration of these segments, and these data can be correlated with similar quantitative data on camera movements, shots, and angles, music and scoring, dialog, and color composition and density of the visual images in each frame;
  • It is possible to assemble these data using software such as ATLAS.ti to cross-culturally define, visualize, and compare what we are calling a “televisual language.” Thus, ATLAS.ti and other types of video editing and analysis software can be used to quantitatively measure transnational processes of globalization focusing on the specific case of television formats.

One of the results of our research has been to develop a typology of adaptations based on narrative structure, content, and sequencing which we have derived from examples of our research group participants: Our comparative analysis of the US series The Nanny with five different other versions (Argentina, Poland, Russia, Greece, Turkey) demonstrated that this series retains the narrative structure, length, and sequencing of the original with no change, but incorporates various aspects of cultural proximity in the adaptation related to specific institutions, cultural, political, and social practices in each country to enhance audience identification. The Turkish adaptation of the US series Monk (called Galip Derviş ) revealed that the greater length of the Turkish series (74 minutes vs. 44 minutes) prompted the Turkish producers to extend, expand, and supplement the narrative beyond what was produced in the original episodes, but retain the same narrative structure and sequencing of the original. A comparison of the French reproduction of the Quebec TV series Les Bougon entailed a redistribution, restructuring, and re-ordering of the Quebec original narrative structure and sequencing to accommodate the 52-minute time slot in France compared to the original 24-minute slot. This resulted not only in a change of genre from sitcom to dramedy, but also a transformation of the narrative content. Contrary to the episode-based adaptations of the three previous examples, my own work comparing the German adaptation of the US 1950s crime series Dragnet exemplifies a genre-based adaptation that differs radically from the original version, modifying the narrative structure and content, but retaining the genre structure, intention, idea, characters, and music of the original.

ATLAS.ti can assist in the deconstruction of the narrative into separate segments of the multimodal communication. The primary documents in our analysis consist of the video of the respective television episodes, which we currently portray in ATLAS.ti in one region of the screen. Our research group uses the coding functions to quantitatively delineate and structure the length and duration of each scene (determined by the change of location of camera shots) of the episode to arrive at a numerical quantity of time for each one. This duration can be depicted in a Microsoft Excel chart in both absolute numbers as well as percentages of total time of the episode and scenes. The quotation function can be used to compile quantitative data on aspects of narrative shared by both versions of the episode. For the Dragnet and Stahlnetz episodes this includes the different steps and sequence in the collection of evidence and the apprehension of the perpetrators of the respective crimes. For the narrative structure the quotations are used to delineate the different camera shots, music segments, dialog portions in each case. These will be later correlated with each other using the co-occurrence function of ATLAS.ti.

For instance, the Dragnet episode entitled “The Big Seventeen”, which can be seen as an illustrated radio play, employs the narrative device of the voiceover to a much greater extent than the 1958 German episode of Stahlnetz entitled “Die blaue Mütze” (“The Blue Cap”), which adapts a film aesthetic for television. ATLAS.ti allows us therefore to determine the position, function, and length of voiceover segments used in each of the versions based on timecode information (as quotations) and use this information for comparative analysis. If and how the divergent use of voiceover is related to the diegetic vs. mimetic approach to each different version.

Quotations can also be used to label and quantify the length and combination of camera movements, angles, and shots and correlate these with the narrative structure. Quotations can also be employed to mark off different segments of music and scoring, as well as dialog. Each of these aspects (dialog, music and scoring, and camera work) represents the groups of our analysis. We are hoping to soon use the co-occurrence tool of ATLAS.ti to correlate our data on narrative structure, sequencing, and content with those of the camera work, dialog, and music and scoring. The network and hyperlink function of ATLAS.ti is a useful way of depicting the relationships in the narrative structure and the progression of scenes of the narrative from beginning to end. These can also be used for illustrating individual aspects of the narrative. One example of this is to compare the length of time devoted to the collection of evidence (marijuana cigarettes in Dragnet and the blue cap in Stahlnetz ) in each version, or the amount of time it takes from discovery of the main perpetrators to their final arrest.

Ed, any final words?

Our work with ATLAS.ti is approximately in the middle of the first step, in which we are still in the data gathering phase of depicting the narrative structure for each of the investigated episodes. The next step (number 2) will be to gather further data (quotations) on the dialog and then the step after that will be to correlate the data of the narrative structure with the dialog to arrive at specific co-occurrences. Initial work with the dialog segments indicates that each sentence or group of sentences in the dialog will become a part of the ATLAS.ti quotation. In addition, my initial work with the voiceover segments has prompted me to develop a numerical coding to indicate placement in scene, length of voiceover, and frequency of voiceover in that scene. I have not completed this task, however, and will not be including this in this summary overview of the work. Finally, we have not yet worked with memos, so that is not included in this as well.

Thank you!

Contact information for Dr. Larkey:

Edward Larkey
Professor of German Studies and Intercultural Communication|
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication
Baltimore, Maryland 21250 USA
[email protected]

Appendix A. Images showing how ATLAS.ti was used in the project data analysis.

Document work area of 'Dragnet', showing timeline, quotations, codes and comment.

Quotation Manager showing in and out markers, quotation label, elapsed time, quotation label, comments

Code Manager (Dragnet/narrative structure).

Code Manager. Narrative structure of 'Dragnet

Network of the Dragnet narrative structure, with hyperlinks.

Appendix B. References.

Bordwell, David, 1985. Narration in the Fiction Film, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Hofstede, Geert, 2001. Culture’s Consequences – Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations Across Nations, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Hofstede, Geert, 1980. Culture’s Consequences – International Differences in Work Related Values, Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Metz, Christian, 1974. Film Language. A Semiotics of the Cinema. Translated by Michael Taylor, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Monaco, James, 2000. How to Read a Film. The World of Movies, Media, and Multimedia, New York: Oxford University Press.



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