Earlier this week three of our staff presented NVivo, Google Earth and ArcGIS to a qualitative research methods class in SIS. Our goal was to simply introduce a few software programs that can be helpful for researchers using qualitative methods such as content analysis, indepth interviews, focus groups or ethnography. It was easy to see how NVivo was appropriate -it is the industry standard for computer-assisted qualitative analysis. But what about Google Earth and ArcGIS which are both used for geo-spatial research?

Our staff created possible research problems that would require Google Earth or ArcGIS. One example included comparing locations of poverty and locations of conflict in a particular country. Other ideas were to map ethnicity and war or education levels and war. (Can you tell the students were from International Peace and Conflict Resolution?) In
reality, many of the organizations that utilize the program for projects of feasibility, monitoring, and implementation.

We ended our presentation with this question for the class: Do you think GIS classifies as a qualitative research method tool?

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