As I have begun my dissertation journey, I am aware that I will be overwhelmed with data soon and making sense of that data. The need for me to decide on qualitative software has been nagging me for the past few months. I have been considering different qualitative software programs. For me, the final decision has been between two different programs, Transana and NVivo. As I was making this decision, I searched online reviews and tutorial videos. I also personally spoke with and emailed people who used NVivo with their dissertations and people who have used Transana in their dissertations. I am around many people (graduate students and otherwise) at ISU that use NVivo and absolutely adore it. However, I ultimately chose Transana. I thought I would share some of my major reasons for selecting Transana. Although NVivo10 is awesome, I think Transana is the best decision for me for the following reasons:
A single user license for Transana is $65. A single user license for Nvivo is $670. Nvivo does offer a student-user version, which is currently available for $120; however, the student version is only for 12 months. Therefore, if one wants to use the software longer than a year, he or she would need to renew for another $120 or upgrade to the full version for $570.
I am a Mac user that does not have a parallel desktop on my computer. I am also a Mac user that does not want a parallel desktop on my computer. NVivo is problematic for Mac users that do not want to run parallels. NVivo is developing software for Mac users, so they don't have to run a parallel desktop, and Nvivo for Macs may be released soon. You can check it out and its progress on the beta version for Macs here: http://www.nvivoformac.com.
Transana is cross-platform. A Mac user can download Transana directly onto their Mac. And, the version that will be downloaded will not be a beta version; other people will have used this software. This was a huge asset for me.
Transana is open-source software, which provides benefits in customizability for efficiency. NVivo is not open-source. Honestly, the only open-source software versus not open-source software experience I have is the Geogebra and Geometer's Sketchpad comparison. Geometer's Sketchpad has many activities published in and for popular curriculums; however, the less well-known (as far as published curriculum goes) Geogebra offers more customizability. For example, I can remember making a button that made equilateral triangles in Geogebra. This was only possible because it was open-source. I'm not sure what I would need to do within Transana that's not already there, but I like that customization within Transana is an option.
For my study, I will have at least two cameras, at least two transcripts, and student written work to coordinate in my analysis. With NVivo I would need to code each of the videos, each of the transcripts, and the student work individually, even if I am placing the same code for the same moment in time. Transana allows for the single coding of an episode, rather than placing the same code multiple times. When you think about hundreds of hours of data, minimizing the codes saves time (and spares error).
Transana won my heart.
I am excited to use any qualitative software for the first time in my dissertation study! I am especially looking forward to getting to know/learn about Transana. If you have pearls of wisdom about using Transana, please send them my way!!!
More information about Transana.
If you want to learn more about Transana, here is the official website: http://www.transana.org/index.htm