Data Collection Tools


Online survey available in many different formats (multiple choice, yes/no, checkbox). It has the ability to store data, as well as, translate surveys into different languages.


⦁ Real time reporting   ⦁ No researcher error

⦁ Collection online and offline   ⦁ Direct to proper question

⦁ Easily stored data   ⦁ Translation

⦁ Need technology   ⦁ “More complicated” to navigate

⦁ Technological errors   ⦁ Security

Tweet Archivist

Window based tool for tweet collection


⦁ Easy to use   ⦁ Fast way to collect data

⦁ Analyzes data   ⦁ Creates visuals


⦁ Can’t receive every tweet   ⦁ More popular tweets take longer to receive

Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software 


Qualitative research creates “Mountains of Words” (Johnson et al., 2010)

CAQDAS provides tools to help researchers reveal and systematically analyze complex phenomena hidden in unstructured qualitative data

(text, images, audio, video, and geo data) (Bazeley, 2002).

The Dark Side of the Technological Advance 

“This superficial brush with the data might be a monster and hi-jack the analysis”

(Seidel, 1991).

In the course of leading to qualitative data being analyzed quantitatively, people are likely to distant from their data. Counting cases, giving more weight to frequent events, ignoring isolated occurrences, and testing rigid hypotheses are not appropriate ways to analyze qualitative data (Barry, 1998).

Digital resources for data management


NVivo is another software tool for qualitative data analysis. Data can be stored in one place, or accessed remotely from the software. Like Atlas.ti, the software can assist with coding, organization, and representation of data from a range of sources including PDF, images, audio, video, spreadsheets, webpages, and social media. UNC has this software available for student use in the virtual lab.


Zotero is a free citation management tool. A browser plug-in allows you to capture data from websites and tag it in the library. The software will then allow you to search, sort, find duplications, and create bibliographies and citations. The organization also provides forums for researchers to form groups and discuss research, share teaching resources, collaborate with colleagues, and get ideas from others.


SharePoint (Microsoft) is designed to be a flexible intranet that can securely store data, track document editing, and integrate with all other Microsoft products as well as many external programs. The program must be purchased through Microsoft, and requires a fair amount of set-up time and effort. It is not ideal for small or short-lived projects, but is very good for long-term or complicated endeavors, particularly if the organization primarily uses Microsoft products.


Dropbox is a cloud storage company that provides a higher level of security than free cloud storage. Depending on the level of subscription, it can be HIPPA compliant. While the security is generally very good, care should still be taken when storing confidential data.


Trello is a free project management tool that lets you create “boards,” lists, and cards to help organize and prioritize projects and tasks. The software integrates with other programs such as Evernote, GitHub, Google Drive, and Slack.


Similar to Trello, this site allows for virtual teaming and collaboration, task assignment, project management, and data organization. It includes team conversations, team calendar and task assignment and tracking.

OCR / Abbyy Fine Reader

OCR software can transfer text from images to editable documents. For example, it can translate from a PDF to a Word document, or find text on a picture and extract it to a text document. Abbyy Finereader is a commonly used software for this function, and can be used from a number of platforms including scanners tablets, and mobile phones. It can also integrate with a number of other software programs, including SharePoint and accounting programs.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dragon is a voice recognition software program. Once it has been trained to a person’s voice, it translates spoken word to text documents. The more it is used, the more accurate it becomes, and vocabulary can be customized.

Tool Database

This collection of tools includes instruments to gather data, create graphical data displays, extract metadata from websites, find archived information, create maps using specific information, capture user input data, and more. These tools can help researchers find and compile information quickly and efficiently from large data sets found online.


Reference managing tool with social media affordances. UNC provides its students with increased storage, making the free software better suited for longer projects.


Similar to Evernote but without the feature bloat. Search documents and pictures with OCR. Share folders with collaborators. Organize everything you read.


Inexpensive ($40) tool that clarifies large writing projects. A former graduate student at Ohio State University thoroughly praised the software in a series of posts entitled “Hacking the Thesis.”

Journals Accepting Multimedia Representations

Kairos — rhetoric and pedagogy    AudiovisualThinking — academic videos

Education Policy Analysis Archives — peer-reviewed and multilingual

Forum — qualitative sociology research   Catalyst — social justice forum

In Media Res — short videos with bridging research-practitioner divide

Journal of Visualized Experiments — science emphasis with aim to increase reproducibility