I do a lot of qualitative coding and assessment as part of my research activities. Usually my colleagues and I simply use generic tools for this process like text editors and spreadsheets, but I know that there's a lot of software out there (NVivo, Atlas.ti, etc.) that is designed for making qualitative data analysis "better".
If these pieces of software were inexpensive, I'd probably buy a package and try it out, but they're very costly (about $600 per seat) and appear rather intimidating.
Can anyone with experience in qualitative data analysis comment on whether these tools are useful (or not useful) and are worth the high price? (And you get a cookie if you can describe a use case that really highlights why the tool is powerful!)