In Case of Doubt See the Manual: a Comparative Analysis of (Self)Learning Packages Qualitative Research Software

Fábio Freitas, Jaime Ribeiro, Catarina Brandão, Francislê Neri de Souza, António Pedro Costa, Luís Paulo Reis


One of the first precautions that a consumer / user has when acquiring a new product is related to how to use it. In this context, the user manuals can be assumed as one of the main communication channels between the companies that develop the products and the user. Regarding the use of software packages, literature indicates that one of the decisive factors for user's dissatisfaction is related to the difficulty in learning how to work with a software. In this context, Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS) enterprises are increasingly looking to develop features that can decrease user's learning curve of their tools. In this way, this chapter illustrates a comparison of user support features, such as: support and typology of the User Manual; Training; Tutorials; Forums; Frequently asked questions (FAQ's); Workshops. Through a systematic exploration of the native sites guided by a dedicated checklist, it was sought to identify the singularities of the resources to support (self)learning of the different software packages. In order to systematize the offers that each user can find, enabling him/her to choose the package that provides the solutions that best respond to his/her learning style. It was concluded that among the different software packages there are no noteworthy disparities, only in two packages analysed there were shortcomings in the offer of formative and autonomous learning.

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