These are tools to correct and clean up data, typically spreadsheets, and get them ready for further processing. They can do things like correct spelling, remove extraneous characters or even change the order and structure of a data table.
Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis software (CAQDAS) has been around for quite a while, and has assisted researchers in analyzing primarily text-based documents and storing that analysis in a findable and interactive manner. CAQDAS can help researchers to "code," or identify the occurrence of, various conceptual themes present across a corpus of documents in order to bring them together and pull insight from them.
Social Psychologists may use a CAQDAS platform to code the responses to interviews, both in text as well as audio, or graduate students may use it to read and keep track of their thoughts for a literature review. The uses are wide and the data management capabilities are many. NOTE: Some are free, others are expensive, and what they offer can vary widely.
Listed below are some good examples of high performance CAQDAS platforms that are offered free of charge.
Some have graphical user interfaces (GUI) and others do not. Some investigation will be required to determine what will best suite your needs. Note that two of these free programs, Aquad and RQDA, make use of the powerful statistical analysis package R. While there is only a plug-in for Aquad, you will need to install R to use RQDA. R is free to download and supported by a vast user community.
Please see the Introduction to R LibGuide (at the University of Illinois, University Library) for more information on getting started with R.
Listed below are some of the more popular proprietary ($) CAQDAS platforms.
Which OS platform the program is based on is listed, though MAC users should note that there aren't many options for high performance CAQDAS platforms yet, though NVivo and Max QDA have MAC versions in the works (projected have been available in late 2013).