Before tonight’s discussion, I think I have approached qualitative and quantitative research as basically choices we make in the research design. There’s some personal preference in choosing, but mostly the type of research you’re doing drives the methods you choose. Also, how the research has been done previously plays a part in choosing a research method. But now, it seems more and more obvious that there are times when qualitative research is necessary. There are certain kinds of phenomena that can ultimately only be evaluated through qualitative analysis. That is where CMDA comes in. Sure, you can count how many words of a certain kind were used in the discourse. You can use word count and demographics to draw some surface conclusions, but honestly what’s the point? To gather real meaning from Computer Mediated Discourse Analysis, you must do qualitative work.