UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type

Article Postprint


Qualitative Research; Data Interpretation, Statistical; Word Processing; Software


Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Preventive Medicine


This article shows how clever but simple use of word-processing functions can provide many features of special-purpose software designed for analyzing text. For many qualitative research projects, and for students who are learning computerassisted analysis of text, the Microsoft Word functions outlined here may be all that are required. Examples are given showing how Microsoft Word can be used for coding and retrieving, semiautomated coding and inspection, creating hierarchies of code categories via indexing, global editing of theme codes, coding of "face-sheet" data, exploring relationships between face-sheet codes and conceptual codes, quantifying the frequency of code instances, and annotating text. The techniques outlined can be used for analyzing and managing many kinds of data, including key informant interviews, focus groups, document and literature reviews, and open-ended survey questions.

Rights and Permissions

(c) 2004 Sage Publications.

DOI of Published Version



La Pelle, Nancy. Simplifying Qualitative Data Analysis Using General Purpose Software Tools. Field Methods, Vol. 16, No. 1, 85-108 (2004). Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Field Methods


This is the author's version of the work.