Human versus Computer-Aided Qualitative Data Analysis Ratings: Spiritual Content in Dream Reports and Diary Entries

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Three computer-aided qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) were compared to each other and to a hand-coded method for analyzing spiritual content in 49 dream journals and 11 diary entries. The CAQDAS ratings demonstrated strong convergence with each other, despite using different assumptions; the hand-coded ratings were less correlated with the CAQDAS than the CAQDAS were to each other. The pattern of convergence and divergence of the ratings (hand coded vs. CAQDAS) and traits (dream vs. diary) was compared in a multitrait multimethod matrix, interpreted as supportive of the validity of both methods. However, all three CAQDAS uncovered material missed by the hand-coded method, suggesting their relative advantage, even when applied to content as ambiguous as spiritual categories.

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