Qualitative coding with ATLAS.ti

Methodology courses and philosophy of science

Course information

ECTS: 1.5
Number of sessions: 2 (1 class meeting and 1 optional bilateral meeting)
Hours per session: 6 for the class meeting
Course fee:

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • € 450,- for non-members
  • Consult our enrolment policy for more information.


Telephone: +31 (0)10 4082607 (Graduate School).

In the academic year 2023-2024 this course will take place online and offline.

Edition 2 (offline)

March 5 (Tuesday) 2024
Langeveld building (campus map), room 1.22

Enrolment available from the end of October.


In qualitative research, coding means giving tags to texts, images, video or audio as a way to yield a systematic understanding of the contents of data. Programs such as ATLAS.ti facilitate and systematize this coding process and the analysis of the resulting collective of codes .

Please note that this course is an extended version on the ATLAS.ti practicum offered in the course Qualitative Data Analysis with Grounded Theory (QDA). Specifically, this course and the ATLAS.ti explanation in the QDA course are based on the same video tutorials. However, if you already attended the QDA course and like to spend more time with others discussing, exercising and reflecting on qualitative coding and analysis, you are of course welcome to join this ATLAS.ti course.

Aims and working method

This course explains qualitative coding and analysis in general and in ATLAS.ti in particular in two meetings. The first session is with the full class and includes hands-on exercises. The second meeting is optional and bilateral (between instructor and student), and offers students the opportunity to get feedback on their coding and first analytic results.

The course focuses on the fully inductive form of coding, which is typical of qualitative research. Inductive coding means that codes are found “bottom-up”, based on an exploration of data (rather than determined before the analysis and operationalized in a code book, which is more typical of quantitative content analysis). We will however also discuss a more deductive / semi-inductive coding approach that can be used in qualitative research. 

Further, this course focuses on the practical aspects of qualitative coding and analysis. Please attend our other course (if available) on qualitative data analysis for a more substantive discussion of the theoretical embedding, quality indicators and write-up of research based on qualitative data analysis.

The course will focus on the qualitative coding and analysis of textual data (e.g. policy documents or interview transcripts). While the principles for qualitative coding and analysis of textual data generally apply also on visual or audiovisual data, in this course we will not focus on how to assess visual or audiovisual data with ATLAS.ti.

During the course participants will be enabled to ask questions about qualitative coding and analysis with regard to their own research. Participants may also practice on data from their own research, if possible. If that’s not possible, participants will be given data by the instructor to practice on.

Learning objectives

After the course, participants will: 

  • Understand the purpose of qualitative coding and analysis;
  • Know how to code and analyze data qualitatively;
  • Be able to use the program ATLAS.ti for qualitative coding and analysis;
  • And understand the benefits of software such as ATLAS.ti.


For session 1, please do the following:

  • Prepare textual data from your own research, if possible and if you want to practice on that data. You don't need a lot of data; anything more than 2000 words will suffice. Just have the raw data readily available during the meeting in any format (could be a Word or PDF file).
  • It's not a problem if you don't have any data of your own; the instructor will provide data to practice on.
  • Please install the Windows version of ATLAS.ti 22 on your computer. We will discuss and practice that version and Erasmus University has a license for it (via link below).
    If you can install the Windows version of ATLAS.ti 23, then that's also fine. Although Erasmus University does not have a license for that version, it may be possible to freely upgrade an installation of version 22 to version 23.
    The Mac version works in some respects quite differently. If you are prepared to find out ad hoc and by yourself (during the meeting) how the Mac version works, then you may also install the Mac version.
  • If the course is on campus: Please bring a fully charged laptop with you with ATLAS.ti on it.
  • Please find the installation instructions for ATLAS.ti (for EUR-employees) here: https://my.eur.nl/en/eur-employee/ict/software/download-software-licences/atlasti. Please follow the instructions precisely. Don't use your personal e-mail address to make an account for ATLAS.ti, but use your EUR e-mail.
  • Do all of the above well in advance of the course and notify the course instructor if there are any problems as soon as possible.

For session 2 there are no specific preparations required.

Description of sessions

Session 1: Using ATLAS.ti for qualitative coding and analysis

  • Demonstrations, exercises and discussions with regard to the principles of qualitative coding and analysis, in general and in ATLAS.ti.

Session 2 (optional): Feedback on your coding and results

  • Participants receive further individual feedback from the instructor on their coding and, if preferred and possible, their first findings.

About the instructor

Dr. Fadi Hirzalla is the Graduate School’s senior lecturer and methodology consultant. He specializes in quantitative and qualitative methodology, next to his substantive interests in citizenship and new media, with a particular focus on intercultural relations and young people. Prior to joining the Graduate School, he worked at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University.