This website happened because for years I have been concerned that qualitative researchers can't easily find honest accounts with detail of what people actually do with data if and when they get any. The literature has always given very little help to those treading the sometimes perilous paths to qualitative analysis, and it has hardly noticed when those journeys changed radically with computer assistance.
I'm a sociologist and qualitative researcher who taught qualitative methods at undergraduate and graduate levels before leaving academia to help design qualitative software and services that worked for qualitative researchers. This was a very personal path. I always claimed that the NUD*IST software was developed because one day my baby son ate a quotation from my current research project. (Back then, like most qualitative researchers, I coded by copying textual material and filing segments by topic, then reviewed them on the living room floor!) My computer scientist husband, Tom Richards, acknowledging responsibility for the child, rashly suggested he might be able to develop software that would help me do what he thought I was trying to do with data - and the rest is history.
Together we designed the NUDIST software (for Nonnumerical Unstructured Data, Indexing, Searching and Theorizing) and later founded a company, QSR, to develop and distribute it and its successor, NVivo. We learned the hard way about the chasm between research goals and corporate processes! Meanwhile, I taught and consulted in projects in 13 countries, teaching thousands of researchers at all levels of seniority in all sorts of research settings, and learning of their challenges and their strategies. This meant a lot of my time was in writing methods texts and software documentation. I also personally trained, and always learned from, most of the 70 trainers worldwide who supported the software in those years. Many of these remain firm friends.
I am now an independent teacher, writer and consultant. My tenth book, (if you count books on software) was Handling Qualitative Data: a Practical Guide, and this website accompanies its second edition. It was a brain-spill of the experience of helping researchers who often had no academic training but wished to do justice to their data, across countries, disciplines and contexts. Like my earlier book, with Janice Morse, Readme First, it's for those who want practical plotting of routes and advice on preparation for and conduct of the wonderful and often terrifying journey from making qualitative data to making something of the research. The Methods in Practice projects on this site are designed to give you a series of real-life accounts of other people's paths through a project, how they arrived at an analysis, and what they have learned, looking back.