26 November 2018

By Lauren Wildschut

CREST has been accredited as a Certified ATLAS.ti Training Organisation (CATO), the only accredited training centre in Africa to date.

With this certification, CREST joins a worldwide network of organisations who demonstrate high-quality use of ATLAS.ti and collaborate using ATLAS.ti to support qualitative researchers. At the same time, CREST now joins FLACSO (Argentina) as an official ATLAS.ti training organization.

CREST’s ATLAS.ti training occurs both through the postgraduate programmes in Monitoring and Evaluation and through the African Institute for ATLAS.ti.

About the African Institute for ATLAS.ti (AIA)

The African Institute for ATLAS.ti (AIA) aims to build a cadre of qualitative researchers across Africa who produce rigorous quality research with the help of ATLAS.ti. AIA grew out of the need to support PhD students who came from all over Africa to Stellenbosch University for PhD support, and in particular training in ATLAS.ti, but then returned to their own universities and found that the support they needed to carry on working in ATLAS.ti was hard to find. Launched in 2013, AIA operates as a service unit within CREST.

AIA provides the following support services:

  • Information on training sessions are advertised on the ATLAS.ti home page (www.atlasti.com) as well as on its own webpage (www.sun.ac.za/aia).
  • Assistance with the bulk buying of student licenses for Stellenbosch University students and for AIA members who qualify.
  • Online support for simple analysis queries.

We have four accredited trainers at introductory level and one at student level. They are Diane Bell, Bronwyne Coetzee, Kathy Lawrence, Pieter Steenkamp and Richard Shambare.

These trainers have already begun working on their own and this has helped with meeting the demand in South Africa and beyond. Bronwyne Coetzee has offered ATLAS.ti training to many organisations including the Creative Consulting Development Works, an NGO in Cape Town and the Department of Psychology at the University of Stellenbosch.

All Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) students at CREST receive an ATLAS.ti licence, while the Stellenbosch University Business School purchases an ATLAS.ti licence for all MBA students. The AIA has also accredited an introductory and advanced course in ATLAS.ti, which means that students who do these courses through the institute will receive accreditation from Stellenbosch University. Lorenza Williams, a PhD student who had completed both Introductory and Advanced Courses in ATLAS.ti, was offered a valuable opportunity to work with Dr Friese for three months. This fantastic opportunity was made possible through the generosity of Dr Friese and the Max Planck Institute.

In a development that will strengthen capacity in Africa, Dr Justus Twesigye from the Department of Social Work at Makerere University (who attended both the Introductory and Advanced ATLAS.ti training at Stellenbosch University) went back to Uganda and began working on the development of the newly established East African ATLAS.ti Centre which will start training students at Makerere University and other universities in Uganda very soon. The Centre will be run by graduates from the ATLAS.ti training in Stellenbosch. They are: Elizabeth Nansubuga, John Mushomi, Ambrose Ruyooka and Grace Ssekakubo. Dr Ssekakubo and Dr Twesigye hold doctorate degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch University respectively and the rest of the team members are finalising their doctorate degrees.

Future outlook

The AIA hopes to become a virtual support network for qualitative researchers using ATLAS.ti and for masters and doctoral students who utilise ATLAS.ti for literature reviews or analysis of qualitative data. The purpose of the AIA in conjunction with the ATLAS.ti Training Centre is to support and focus on the developing context of African academics and researchers. We intend to dovetail with current ATLAS.ti offerings and build a cadre of qualitative researchers who produce rigorous and quality research utilising ATLAS.ti. Support for African qualitative researchers and doctoral students will be provided by both the AIA and the courses currently offered by the African Doctoral Academy (ADA).

The home page of the AIA website.

Dr Lauren Wildschut (CREST), Dr Susanne Friese (ATLAS.ti, Berlin) and Prof Johann Mouton (CREST).

ATLAS.ti training in process at CREST.

With the help of Dr Wildschut at the African Institute for ATLAS.ti (AIA) which is based at Stellenbosch University, the opportunity was realised and I am writing this letter now from the land of ATLAS.ti. I have been invited by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, Germany where Dr Susanne Friese is affiliated. My scholarship is for three months to work on a one-on-one basis with Dr Friese, analysing my interview and focus group data; writing up the research methodology and results chapters for my PhD; as well as writing a research paper with Dr Friese. – Lorenza Williams, PhD student