Final Thesis: Managing collaborators on QDAcity 

Abstract: Collaborative software allows people to work together to achieve a common goal. However, users might be distracted from their goals when such an application evolves with more functionalities. Moreover, when multiple users collaborate in the same session, the action of one user might confuse and come as a surprise to other users. These potential unexpected interactions between the users and the system contribute to the dynamic nature of the collaborative software. For effective collaboration, a system should be able to minimize such unexpected interactions and enforce the expected behavior among the users. Access control is a standard data security practice that implements certain rules over the resources and users, thereby controlling the interaction.

In this thesis, We demonstrate an architectural refactoring of the access control for better collaboration in the example of QDAcity. QDAcity is a web application for conducting Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) of text data. Researchers and students use this software to analyze qualitative data (such as interview data) gathered for scientific studies. In addition, it enables them to work on their research and share their findings collaboratively. For QDAcity, being a collaborative application, resource management and data security is very important. Currently, QDAcity provides the same access rights to all the users of a project. In this thesis, we extend QDAcity’s access control capabilities within a project by implementing a Role Based Access Control (RBAC) mechanism with fine-grained permission levels on the resources.

Keywords: RBAC, access control, QDAcity

PDF: Master Thesis

Reference: Bharathwaj Ravi. Managing collaborators on QDAcity. Master Thesis. Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: 2022.