What is RQDA and what are its features?

RDQA is a R package for Qualitative Data Analysis, a free (free as freedom) qualitative analysis software application (BSD license). It works on Windows, Linux/FreeBSD and the Mac OSX platforms. RQDA is an easy to use tool to assist in the analysis of textual data. At the moment it only supports plain text formatted data. All the information is stored in a SQLite database via the R package of RSQLite. The GUI is based on RGtk2, via the aid of gWidgetsRGtk2. It includes a number of standard Computer-Aided Qualitative Data Analysis features. In addition it seamlessly integrates with R, which means that a) statistical analysis on the coding is possible, and b) functions for data manipulation and analysis can be easily extended by writing R functions. To some extent, RQDA and R make an integrated platform for both quantitative and qualitative data analysis.

Through the GUI, RQDA can:

  • Import documents from plain text or on-the-fly
  • Import PDF highlights which is useful for content management of literature (reliant on rjpod)
  • Support non-English documents. Simplified Chinese Character is well-tested under Windows as well as Debian Linux (with locale of zh_CN.UTF-8)
  • Character-level coding using codes
  • File Editing after coding
  • Memos of documents, codes, coding, project, files and more
  • Retrieval of coding, and easily return to the original file (to ease the problem of segmentation). Conditional retrieval is supported as well.
  • Single-file (*.rqda) format, which is basically a SQLite database. Data are stored in UTF-8, so it should be portable
  • Organize codes into code categories, which is key to theory building. I deliberately avoid using tree-like categorization
  • Organize files into file categories
  • Search files by keywords with highlighting of the keyword in the open file.
  • Apply attributes to file, which is useful for content analysis
  • There is a case category and related attributes of cases, which is a crucial feature in bridging qualitative and quantitative research.
  • Search information about a selected case on the Internet via a pop-up menu
  • Temporary delete files and codes
  • Rename files, codes, code categories, and cases
  • Write and organize field work journals
  • And more ...

    Through R functions, it can:

  • Manipulate the temporary deletions (list, undo temporary deletion, or permanently erase them)
  • Import a batch of files
  • Calculate the relation between two codings, given the coding indexes
  • Give a summary of coding and inter-code relationships
  • Export file/case attributes and show subsets of files/cases only in respective widget through the ShowSubset function
  • Perform more flexible ways of conditional retrieval
  • Perform Boolean operations and, or, and not for codings, files or cases coded by codes (since rev 280).

    You can use help(package="RQDA") to see more functions of the RQDA package.

    Installation for Windows and Linux

  • Step one, Install GTK+ (because RGtk2 depends on GTK+, you need to install it before install RGtk2). For windows user, download GTK+ and install it. For Debian-based Linux users, you may use sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-dev to install GTK+ developer library. In Fedora use yum install -y gtk2-devel to install. For other Linux users, you may have to manually install GTK+, download the source tarball, and follow the instructions of installation. You can refer to this page for installation of RGtk2.
  • Step two, Install R. Go to CRAN, download R and install it. For Linux and BSD users, you can download binary version of R or the source code. For Windows users, you can download the binary version of R from the download page. More instructions about installing R are in the R Installation and Administration Manual.
  • Step three, Launch R for further installation. It can be launched as a normal application in Windows, or by command R within a shell terminal in Linux and FreeBSD. Then, you can see the prompt “>”,which indicates that R is ready for further commands.
  • Step four, Install relevant R packages by command: install.packages("RQDA",dependencies=c("Depends", "Imports")) . If you want to use the developer version of RQDA, you can use this command after you have installed RQDA by using the command: install.packages("RQDA",repos="http://R-Forge.R-project.org", type="source").
  • Step five, Launch RQDA using command library(RQDA) from within R. Then you can see the RQDA GUI. For Debian Linux users, there is a apt repositories, you can follow the guidelines there.>

    For non-R-users who use Windows, you can download a rar file from Baidu Yun Pan, extract it to, say, c:\. Then you can launch the RQDA by double clicking the RQDA.bat file.

    Installation for Mac OSX

    This installation guide is tested on Yosemite.

  • Open a Terminal and run the following command to install xcode:
    > sudo xcode-select --install
  • Go to http://xquartz.macosforge.org/landing/, download XQuartz-2.7.7.dmg and install it. Vedio tutorial can be found on Youtube.
  • Go to https://www.macports.org/install.php, download and install macport (Install MacPorts for your version of OS X)
  • Open a Terminal and run the following commands:
    > sudo port install pkgconfig
    > sudo port install gtk2
  • Install R: download the binary version of R from the download page and install it.
  • Go to http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/RGtk2/index.html and download RGtk2_2.20.31.tar.gz (the version might be different)
  • from within the Terminal, and run the following command:
    > sudo R CMD INSTALL ~/Download/RGtk2_2.20.31.tar.gz (assume RGtk2_2.20.31.tar.gz is located in ~/Download)
  • If the above step is successful, launch R and install RQDA from within R:
    > install.packages('RQDA', type='source')
  • If all steps are successful, then we can laugh RQDA by the following R command:
    > library(RQDA)

    If gtk2 has been installed appropriately and the following error is raised when loading RQDA: unable to load shared object '/Library/R/3.1/library/RGtk2/libs/RGtk2.so':
    It is possible that RGtk2 can not find the libary because the Path Environment Variables have not been set correctly. You might try to fix it by including the following lines in the file '.bash_profile':
    export PATH=/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:$PATH
    export PATH=/opt/pkgconfig/bin:$PATH
    export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/opt/local/lib/pkgconfig
    export PATH=/Library/Frameworks/GTK+.framework/Resources/bin:$PATH

    Binary package of GTK+ is available here for some vesion of Mac OSX.

    RQDA Documentation

  • User Manual, Tips, FAQ (version 0.2-1 onwards)
  • User Manual, Tips, FAQ (version 0.2-0 and previous)
  • Introduction to CAQDA (26 Jan 2010) (PDF).
  • How to import PDF highlights into RQDA(PDF)
  • 定性分析软件RQDA简明使用手册(PDF in Chinese).

    User contributed documentation
  • Video tutorial on youtube in French and English, both of which are kindly provided by Metin Caliskan.
  • RQDA Skill Building by Lindsey Varner Link
  • Qualitative Data Analysis with RQDA by PSU
  • "Using RQDAtm and tm to do text-mining", Download the file (PDF) and first example and 2nd example project.(July 2010)

    Who uses it

  • Publications using and/or citing RQDA package.
  • 2014. Workshop by Andrea Salvini: Introduction to Qualitative Data Analysis with RQDA. 5th Conference of Eropean Society of Studies in Symbolic Interaction. Denmark: Aalborg University. August 17th-19th.
  • References

  • Kelle, U. (ed.).1995."Computer-aided qualitative data analysis: theory, methods and practice." Sage Publications.
  • Lewins, A. & Silver, C.2007. Using Software in Qualitative Research : A Step-by-Step Guide. Sage Publications.
  • Kuckartz, Udo. 2014. Qualitative Text Analysis. Sage Publications.

    How to cite the software

    I have put a lot of effort in this project. I appreciate if you can cite this software in your research. You can use citation("RQDA") to get this citation.

    HUANG Ronggui (2014). RQDA: R-based Qualitative Data Analysis. R package version 0.2-7. http://rqda.r-forge.r-project.org/

    What's new?

    RQDA 0.2-5 is released on CRAN (2014-03-26). This update is in compliance with CRAN policies, but has no significant new features. JRE is required to used rjpod enhancement.

    RQDA 0.2-3 is released with several new features (2012-12-12).

    rmmseg4j 0.1-0 is released to CRAN (2012-06-18)

    RQDA 0.2-2 is now on CRAN (2011-12-27)

    Two new packages (rsmartcn, rmmseg4j) have been added, which segment Simplified Chinese into words seperated by space.

    RQDA 0.2-1 is now on CRAN (2011-09-10)

    RQDA 0.2-0 is now on CRAN (2010-10-20)

    RQDAtm 0.1-0 works now. It bridges RQDA and tm (rev 313) (2010-04-26).

    RQDA 0.1-9 is now on CRAN (2010-02-28). There is a bug, and the solution is here.

    RQDA 0.1-8 is now on CRAN (2009-09-20)

    RQDA 0.1-7 is now on CRAN (2009-04-28)

    RQDA 0.1-6 is now on CRAN (2008-12-30)

    RQDA has been actively developed. You can click here to see the new features. There are few known-bugs, click KnownBugs for details.

    More Informaiton

  • The project summary page you can find here.
  • Homepage of the author.


    Main windows under Vista and under Debian Linux
    Reading File
    File Memo
    File Categories window under Vista and Debian Linux
    Codes list window under Vista and under Debian Linux
    Code Categories window under Vista and Debian Linux
    Cases window under XP and under Debian Linux
    Attributes window under Debian Linux
    Journals window under Debian Linux
    Settings window under XPand under Debian Linux