What is Sonal ?
Sonal if a free software for qualitative research. It lets you collect, organize, transcribe and code and analyze audio/video files. You can also use it for analyzing your data with different methods including duration analysis, word frequencies and conversation analysis.
Get a clear overview of you data
Sonal stores audio/video files in a graphical project in which different parts (called "excerpts") of your recordings are highlighted with colors referring to thematic (defined by the user). So you can see in a glance the parts you have on a given issue.
Get some help for transcribing
When you have highlighted a part of a recording, you can add text inside the extract you have delimited. A dictation tool lets you transcribe a lot faster what you hear, without any control pedal or keyboard shortcut.
Build your project progressively
Sonal works in a very flexible way, depending on your scientific purposes and on your material (audio, video, text). You can first start with coding your recordings, letting short notes and transcribe your excerpts latter. On the contrary, you can first transcribe all of you interviews without coding and then - possibly - cut up text and recording simultaneously. All the approaches are possible and you can switch from one method to another whenever you want. It all depends on what you want to ask Sonal later. The best approach is to have both coded recordings and fully transcribed interviews, so to use all the tools for analysis of Sonal.
A wide range of tools for analyzing your data
Sonal lets you analyze your research projects in a very efficient way, using one of the tools proposed:
- Thematic analysis: listen/read all of your excerpts coded whith one or more given thematic(s) and/or interview(s) ;
- Word frequency : which words are the more frequent/specific in (a part of) the verbatim?
- Duration analysis : how many time is spent on a given thematic?
- Conversation analysis (including speech rate of flow).
The Sonal project
Sonal is a methodological project started in 2009 by Alex Alber, sociologist form the Tours university (Loire Valley - France). First developed for the use of its creator, it was then put online one year later. One of the very first users built this site for the software (Xavier Le Nué) and Philippe Cibois, another sociologist, gave a very precious hand for coding statistical analysis algorithms.
Sonal is a scientific project. It is free, and will stay free.