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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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
Thematic's AI-driven text feedback analysis platform helps you understand what your customers are saying—and why they’re saying it.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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:
Generate qualitative insights from surveys
Apply any method of qualitative research
Analyze open-ended questions and standardized surveys
Perform prototype testing
Visualize research results with charts
Collaborate with your team through a single platform
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.”
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.”
MonkeyLearn is no-code analytics software for CX and product teams.
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.