Extensions

The following extensions will be available in future versions of AQUAD 7. They support tomake use of the  functions of other open source software applications, particularly they extend the  range of analyses towards mixed methods. Audio- and videotranscoding will be possible to prepare video- and audio-data prior to the work with AQUAD 7. Additionally, the last extension of text-video overlays allows to better present qualitative audio- and video data at conferences and for peer review.

  • R or the proprietary SPSS (owned by IBM) for statistical analysis (and its free replacement PSPP) – coming soon!
  • FFmpeg to decode, encode, and transcode audio- as well as video data
  • Text-Video Overlays (TVO) to present audio- as well as video data in its best possible way

R

R und Tinn-R

R und Tinn-R

R is an open source statistical computing and graphics environment. It is available for various operation systems (Linux, Windows, and Mac). R is a free implementation of the proprietary programming language S. On CRAN (Comprehensive R Archive Network) there are at the moment over 4300 R packages  available for free download. They allow to perform almost any statistical analysis one can think of. R is the greatest and most efficient collection of statistical software packages worldwide and it is for free. The linkage from AQUAD 7 to R allows to use all of its capabilities. If a research question demands a combined qualitative/quantitative analysis, exporting data like tables of code frequencies to R allows to analyse these data the best possible way. If an analysis is missing, one can program it quite easily – provided one has a profound knowledge of the missing analysis in question. Besides, the R package ‚QCA‘ covers a broader approach to implicant analysis than implemented directly in AQUAD 7.  The linkage to R actually covers three aspects:

  • Export of code (or word) frequencies – a simple export of code frequencies (regardless of the code type) to a table format like .csv („comma separated values“). R can easily import .csv files for subsequent data analysis. AQUAD 7 code files are always available as simple text files. The export just reformats the file to ease the import in R. A general overview of how to import data in R can be found in the following documents: R data import/export and the small R reference sheet. The corresponding R commands to import .csv are read.csv() and read.table().
  • Pre-defined analyses – for small analyses (e.g. chi^2 analyses or graphical representations of distance/ proximity across interview cases) it is sufficient to use some of the pre-defined analyses AQUAD 7 offers out of the box. AQUAD 7 calls the R GUI and starts these scripts. Users just have to install R as it is stated on the R webpage. AQUAD 7 only needs to know the path to the R installation folder.
  • Free R scripts – R is a script based programming language although some GUI’s are available. For all those who know what they are doing, you can load your own R scripts to start them within AQUAD 7. This allows to modify some of the pre-defined scripts and save them as new versions or to write your own ones. Those who want to work more deeply with R are adviced to have a look at Tinn-R, which is a free editor (Windows). A pragmatic solution is to develop your own R scripts with Tinn-R, save them, and load them inside AQUAD 7 as your own R script.

In general, we recommend to use R for several reasons: First, working without a GUI demands a very thoughtful way of doing analyses – you cannot just perform some mouse clicks. But more importantly, R offers more possibilities in the field of statistics and graphic representations as even some commercial statistical software packages.  You will find out in your daily work that the object oriented approach of R is very powerful for every data analysis. Of course, you can use the export function of AQUAD 7 for tables (code frequencies or word frequencies) to work other statistic programs (for instance, with GNU PSPP).

FFmpeg

FFmpeg is a compilation of programs and libraries to decode, encode, and transcode almost everything (audio, video) to everything and to allow demuxing, muxing, streaming, playing, etc. The benefit of this package is that it enables you to convert a video to something appropriate to use it with AQUAD 7. Although HD format is a nice thing, it requires many resources and is often not suitable for the work with AQUAD 7. Sometimes the file is just too large or the codec used is not efficient and consumes too much disk space, or something else disturbs the analysis. In such a case FFmpeg can help you to prepare your audio and video data. FFmpeg will be called from within AQUAD 7 to produce  good looking source material in SD format (resolution) along with a MPEG4 codec for video and mp3 codec for audio as the main target formats.

If you want to achieve similar results of the same quality, you can have a look at ffdshow DirectShow filters and VirtualDub. Then you need additional free audio and video codecs. If you want to import formats not supported natively by VirtualDub (e.g. MPEG2/ DVD), you can use Avisynth as a frameserver.

Text-Video Overlays (TVO)

Text-Video Overlay (subtiteling)

Text-Video Overlay (subtiteling)

Text-Video overlays offer an interesting and promising way to present or to teach qualitative coding of video and audio data, or to ease peer-review and evaluation of journal articles or master theses. It works in a way so that selected codes are converted to a format that can be displayed dynamically on top of the video while playing it. Alternatively, you can hardcode the codes directly into the video (not recommended in most cases). Thus, you can see directly on the material how it was coded. The technical background is rooted in classical subtiteling for impaired people. The Advanced SubStationAlpha format (.ass) is the subtitle format of choice, because it allows to use a variety of effects.

Status Quo: At the moment we can offer a small R script (together with a video example which was coded in AQUAD 7) to convert an AQUAD 7 code file to Advanced SSA format. However, at the moment you cannot de-/select codes and one style sheet is used for all codes although each code gets its own style sheet (same name). That means, at first all codes have the same layout. But you can change this file with the open source software Aegisub to define new styles for the codes and apply them. Thus, you can use – with some manual work – your own layout based on your needs. If you want to play it, you can use mpc-hc and/or  ffdshow DirectShow filters (Windows) to decode and display the Advanced SSA file (in case it does not work „out of the box“ with mpc-hc).

An extensive article that describes the application, technical background, possible problems and limitations of this approach as well as dvd production and internationalisation is in preparation by the authors and will be published here. A short explanation especially on dvd production and internationalisation can be found on this blog – only free software is used.