Over at the Atlas.ti blog is an interesting article on the uses of its software in the analysis of Buddhist canonical texts. Atlas.ti is a prominent qualitative data analysis (QDA) software that I’m a little familiar with through my anthropological work. It’s main function is to allow researchers to code and analysis large amounts of text in order to find patterns and connections which aid the process of interpretation.
This paper, by Fung Kei Cheng and entitled “Utilising Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software in Buddhist Canonical Analysis” shows how useful the software can be for finding patterns within enormous tracts of text such as Buddhist sutras. In Fung’s words:
This work specifies how to use ATLAS.ti 7, one of the leading computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS), or briefly, qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) (Lewins & Silver, 2007), in analysing the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra (henceforth called the Sūtra), the Buddhist canon adopted in the current research for conceptualising a Buddhist-based counselling framework. Therefore, it exemplifies only the relevant constituents, rather than the entire scriptural text, which aligns with the research objective and research questions.
The full text of the article is here.