Learn / Guides / Qualitative data analysis guide

Back to guides

10 best qualitative data analysis tools

A lot of teams spend a lot of time collecting qualitative customer experience data—but how do you make sense of it, and how do you turn insights into action?

Qualitative data analysis tools help you make sense of customer feedback so you can focus on improving the user and product experience and creating customer delight.

Last updated

25 Mar 2024

Reading time

8 min


This chapter of Hotjar's qualitative data analysis (QDA) guide covers the ten best QDA tools that will help you make sense of your customer insights and better understand your users.

Collect qualitative customer data with Hotjar

Use Hotjar’s Surveys and Feedback widget to collect user insights and better understand your customers.

10 tools for qualitative data analysis 

Qualitative data analysis involves gathering, structuring, and interpreting contextual data to identify key patterns and themes in text, audio, and video.

Qualitative data analysis software automates this process, allowing you to focus on interpreting the results—and make informed decisions about how to improve your product—rather than wading through pages of often subjective, text-based data.

Pro tip: before you can analyze qualitative data, you need to gather it. 

One way to collect qualitative customer insights is to place Hotjar Surveys on key pages of your site. Surveys make it easy to capture voice-of-the-customer (VoC) feedback about product features, updated designs, and customer satisfaction—or to perform user and market research.

Need some ideas for your next qualitative research survey? Check out our Hotjar Survey Templates for inspiration.

Example product discovery questions from Hotjar’s bank of survey templates

Example product discovery questions from Hotjar’s bank of survey templates

1. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a no-code qualitative data analysis tool that gives researchers, product marketers, and developers access to AI-based analytics without dealing with complex interfaces.

#Cauliflower analytics dashboard
Cauliflower analytics dashboard

How Cauliflower analyzes qualitative data

Cauliflower’s AI-powered analytics help you understand the differences and similarities between different pieces of customer feedback. Ready-made visualizations help identify themes in customers’ words without reading through every review, and make it easy to:

  • Analyze customer survey data and answers to open-ended questions

  • Process and understand customer reviews

  • Examine your social media channels

  • Identify and prioritize product testing initiatives

  • Visualize results and share them with your team

One of Cauliflower’s customers says, “[Cauliflower is] great for visualizing the output, particularly finding relevant patterns in comparing breakouts and focussing our qualitative analysis on the big themes emerging.”

2. NVivo

NVivo is one of the most popular qualitative data analysis tools on the market—and probably the most expensive. It’s a more technical solution than Cauliflower, and requires more training. NVivo is best for tech-savvy customer experience and product development teams at mid-sized companies and enterprises.

#Coding research materials with NVivo
Coding research materials with NVivo

How NVivo analyzes qualitative data

NVivo’s Transcription tool transcribes and analyzes audio and video files from recorded calls—like sales calls, customer interviews, and product demos—and lets you automatically transfer text files into NVivo for further analysis to:

  • Find recurring themes in customer feedback

  • Analyze different types of qualitative data, like text, audio, and video

  • Code and visualize customer input

  • Identify market gaps based on qualitative and consumer-focused research

Dylan Hazlett from Adial Pharmaceuticals says, We needed a reliable software to perform qualitative text analysis. The complexity and features of [Nvivo] have created great value for our team.”

3. ​​Quirkos

Quirkos is a simple and affordable qualitative data analysis tool. Its text analyzer identifies common keywords within text documents to help businesses quickly and easily interpret customer reviews and interviews.

#Quirkos analytics report
Quirkos analytics report

How Quirkos analyzes qualitative data

Quirkos displays side-by-side comparison views to help you understand the difference between feedback shared by different audience groups (by age group, location, gender, etc.). You can also use it to:

  • Identify keywords and phrases in survey responses and customer interviews

  • Visualize customer insights

  • Collaborate on projects

  • Color code texts effortlessly

One of Quirkos's users says,The interface is intuitive, easy to use, and follows quite an intuitive method of assigning codes to documents.”

4. Qualtrics

Qualtrics is a sophisticated experience management platform. The platform offers a range of tools, but we’ll focus on Qualtrics CoreXM here.  

Qualtrics CoreXM lets you collect and analyze insights to remove uncertainty from product development. It helps validate product ideas, spot gaps in the market, and identify broken product experiences, and the tool uses predictive intelligence and analytics to put your customer opinion at the heart of your decision-making.

#Qualtrics customer data dashboard
Qualtrics customer data dashboard

How Qualtrics analyzes qualitative data

Qualtrics helps teams streamline multiple processes in one interface. You can gather and analyze qualitative data, then immediately share results and hypotheses with stakeholders. The platform also allows you to:

  • Collect customer feedback through various channels

  • Understand emotions and sentiment behind customers’ words

  • Predict what your customers will do next

  • Act immediately based on the results provided through various integrations

A user in project management shares, “The most useful part of Qualtrics is the depth of analytics you receive on your surveys, questionnaires, and other tools. In real-time, as you develop your surveys, you are given insights into how your data can be analyzed. It is designed to help you get the data you need without asking unnecessary questions.”

5. Dovetail

Dovetail is a customer research platform for growing businesses. It offers three core tools: Playback, Markup, and Backstage. For qualitative data analysis, you’ll need Markup.

Markup offers tools for transcription and analysis of all kinds of qualitative data, and is a great way to consolidate insights.

#Transcription and analysis of an interview with Dovetail
Transcription and analysis of an interview with Dovetail

How Dovetail analyzes qualitative data

Dovetail’s charts help you easily quantify qualitative data. If you need to present your findings to the team, the platform makes it easy to loop in your teammates, manage access rights, and collaborate through the interface. You can:

  • Transcribe recordings automatically

  • Discover meaningful patterns in textual data

  • Highlight and tag customer interviews

  • Run sentiment analysis

  • Collaborate on customer research through one interface

Kathryn Rounding, Senior Product Designer at You Need A Budget, says, “Dovetail is a fantastic tool for conducting and managing qualitative research. It helps bring all your research planning, source data, analysis, and reporting together, so you can not only share the final results but all the supporting work that helped you get there.”

6. Thematic

Thematic's AI-driven text feedback analysis platform helps you understand what your customers are saying—and why they’re saying it.

#Text analysis in action, with Thematic
Text analysis in action, with Thematic

How Thematic analyzes qualitative data

Thematic helps you connect feedback from different channels, uncover themes in customer experience data, and run sentiment analysis—all to make better product decisions. Thematic is helpful when you need to:

  • Analyze unstructured feedback data from across channels

  • Discover relationships and patterns in feedback

  • Reveal emerging trends in customer feedback

  • Split insights by customer segment

  • Use resulting data in predictive analytics

Emma Glazer, Director of Marketing at DoorDash, says, “Thematic empowers us with information to help make the right decisions, and I love seeing themes as they emerge. We get real-time signals on issues our customers are experiencing and early feedback on new features they love. I love looking at the week-over-week breakdowns and comparing segments of our audience (market, tenure, etc.) Thematic helps me understand what’s driving our metrics and what steps we need to take next.” 

7. Delve 

Delve is cloud-based qualitative data analysis software perfect for coding large volumes of textual data, and is best for analyzing long-form customer interviews.

#Qualitative data coding with Delve
Qualitative data coding with Delve

How Delve analyzes qualitative data

Delve helps reveal the core themes and narratives behind transcripts from sales calls and customer interviews. It also helps to:

  • Find, group, and refine themes in customer feedback

  • Analyze long-form customer interviews

  • Categorize your data by code, pattern, and demographic information

  • Perform thematic analysis, narrative analysis, and grounded theory analysis

One Delve user says, “Using Delve, it is easier to focus just on coding to start, without getting sidetracked analyzing what I am reading. Once coding is finished, the selected excerpts are already organized based on my own custom outline and I can begin analyzing right away, rather than spending time organizing my notes before I can begin the analysis and writing process.”

8. ATLAS.ti

ATLAS.ti is a qualitative data analysis tool that brings together customer and product research data. It has a range of helpful features for marketers, product analysts, UX professionals, and product designers.

#Survey analysis with ATLAS.ti
Survey analysis with ATLAS.ti

How ATLAS.ti analyzes qualitative data

ATLAS.ti helps product teams collect, structure, and evaluate user feedback before realizing new product ideas. To enhance your product design process with ATLAS.ti, you can:

One of the ATLAS.ti customers shares,“ATLAS.ti is innovating in the handling of qualitative data. It gives the user total freedom and the possibility of connecting with other software, as it has many export options.” 


MAXQDA is a data analysis software that can analyze and organize a wide range of data, from handwritten texts, to video recordings, to Tweets.

#Audience analysis with MAXQDA
Audience analysis with MAXQDA

How MAXQDA analyzes qualitative data

MAWQDA organizes your customer interviews and turns the data into digestible statistics by enabling you to:

  • Easily transcribe audio or video interviews

  • Structure standardized and open-ended survey responses

  • Categorize survey data

  • Combine qualitative and quantitative methods to get deeper insights into customer data

  • Share your work with team members

One enterprise-level customer says MAXQDA has “lots of useful features for analyzing and reporting interview and survey data. I really appreciated how easy it was to integrate SPSS data and conduct mixed-method research. The reporting features are high-quality and I loved using Word Clouds for quick and easy data representation.”

10. MonkeyLearn

MonkeyLearn is no-code analytics software for CX and product teams.

#MonkeyLearn qualitative data analytics dashboard
MonkeyLearn qualitative data analytics dashboard

How MonkeyLearn analyzes qualitative data

MonkeyLearn automatically sorts, visualizes, and prioritizes customer feedback with its AI-powered algorithms. Along with organizing your data into themes, the tool will split it by intent—allowing you to promptly distinguish positive reviews from issues and requests and address them immediately.

One MonkeyLearn user says, “I like that MonkeyLearn helps us pull data from our tickets automatically and allows us to engage with our customers properly. As our tickets come in, the AI classifies data through keywords and high-end text analysis. It highlights specific text and categorizes it for easy sorting and processing.”

The next step in automating qualitative data analysis 

Qualitative data analysis tools help you uncover actionable insights from customer feedback, reviews, interviews, and survey responses—without getting lost in data.

But there's no one tool to rule them all: each solution has specific functionality, and your team might need to use the tools together depending on your objectives.

With the right qualitative data analysis software, you can make sense of what your customers really want and create better products for them, achieving customer delight and loyalty.

Collect qualitative customer data with Hotjar

Use Hotjar’s Surveys and Feedback widget to collect user insights and better understand your customers.

FAQs about qualitative data analysis software