Quadrant was conceptualised and designed to respond to the needs of researchers using qualitative and mixed methods.
Quadrant aims to address contemporary issues facing participant based researchers, including increased research size, diverse and geographically distributed research teams and data collection sites, multiple co-concurrent research projects and cross institutional teams. Such challenges pose particular issues for participant based research, including:
- How to securely transfer large files such as video, sound and transcriptions to appropriate team members
- How to manage de-identification procedures over multiple data entry points and locations
- How to ensure everyone was on track and up-to-date with the research project
- How to maintain a complete audit and log of all related research activity.
These issues face everyone. There is a lack of specific project management and collaboration software available for a participant based research. In order to collaborate and track data researchers report that they resort to:
- Using spreadsheets to keep a list of participants and their project status (enrolled, obtained consent, data collected (interview, survey) and analysed)
- Sending files through email, network share drives, file-sharing services and USB drives in the post
- Maintaining multiple copies of the same files as there was no easily available data storage mechanisms that worked across institutions and geographical boundaries.
Issues to Address
It was noted that this often leads to difficulty maintaining accurate copies of research data, inability to immediately and easily ascertain project progress and increased risks associated with exposure of sensitive information. In particular, the research community noted that in order to facilitate effective and efficient research collaboration, software tools were needed to address the following issues:
- Cross-institutional collaboration is difficult and requires a high level of institutional information technology support to provide basic collaborative environments
- There is no tailored software that allows adequate participant management
- There is no software that allows teams to work easily with identifiable and de-identifiable data
- Communication and transfer of files is insecure, inefficient and does not provide adequate control over sensitive files
- There is no automatic auditible records of all research-related decisions
- There is a lack of appropriate guarantees regarding country of storage and third party access to sensitive data for current collaborative software
Quadrant is made by researchers for researchers. It streamlines the research process by making it easy to collect, view, and track the progress of research data at all points throughout the project. It increases research efficiency by removing task duplication associated with using disparate programs such as email, spreadsheets, and file sharing tools to share data, track and manage research. Quadrant promotes independent team activity and accountability whilst enabling executive level access and control. It simultaneously provides a current snapshot of project progress as well as specific details of individual participants or subjects.
Quadrant is designed to meet the needs of researchers using qualitative and mixed-methods research methodologies in fields such as Health, Humanities, Social Science, Politics, Marketing, Communications, Sociology, Education, and Anthropology.
We are just beginning and we would like to hear your research story.
Quadrant is designed and conceptualised by Hamish Holewa.