Qualitative coding with ATLAS.ti

Methodology courses and philosophy of science

Course information

ECTS: 1.5
Number of sessions: 2
Hours per session: 6 and 1
Course fee:

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • €400,- for non-members
  • Consult our enrolment policy for more information.


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

In the academic year 2021-2022 this course will take place online for Edition 1 and offline for Edition 2.

Edition 1 (online)

Session 1
November 8 (Monday) 2021

Session 2
Optional meeting between lecturer and individual student
Date and time to be determined


Edition 2 (offline)

Session 1
March 9 (Wednesday) 2022

Session 2
Optional meeting between lecturer and individual student
Date and time to be determined



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. This process of coding can be structured and systematised by using programs such as ATLAS.ti.

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, you are of course welcome to join this ATLAS.ti course.

Aims and working method

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

The course focuses on the 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, as is more typical of quantitative content analysis).

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 substantial discussion of the theoretical embedding, quality indicators and write-up of research based on qualitative data analysis.

During the course participants will be enabled to ask questions about qualitative coding 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 completing this course, participants will: 

  • Understand why data needs to be coded in qualitative research
  • Know the main analytic principles for qualitative coding
  • Be able to use the program ATLAS.ti for qualitative coding and analysis
  • Understand the benefits of software such as ATLAS.ti


For session 1, please:

  • Bring data from your own research, if possible and if you want to practice on that data.
  • Bring a fully charged laptop with you, with the newest version of ATLAS.ti 9 installed on it.
  • Bring (preferably) the Windows version of ATLAS.ti with you, because we will discuss and practice that version. The Windows version may be quite different from the Mac version. If you are prepared to find out by yourself (during session 1) how the Mac version works, then you may also bring the Mac version with you.
  • Find the installation instruction for ATLAS.ti here: https://my.eur.nl/en/eur-employee/ict/software/download-software-licences/atlasti. Erasmus University has a license for this program. 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

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

Session 2: 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.