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Introduction

The project will consider, illustrate and develop guidance on the following methodological and research design issues for qualitative data archiving, sharing and reuse.


• Ethical dilemmas, trust and responsibility - for example the implications of working with data of various media types, the role, possibilities and problems of anonymization, and dealing with sensitive data sets.


• Provision of contextual information – providing sufficient contextual information (for example about the project’s methods, research design, research setting and questions) to enable other researchers unfamiliar with the data or the fieldwork to understand and make use of the data and findings in ways that are appropriate to the original design.


• Integrating images, sound, written text and graphics – the archiving and integration of data in different media for re-use, and the ways in which the researcher, and research relationships are represented within these multimedia data sets.


• Producing and representing a research timeline - in order to facilitate the re-use of data-sets, it is necessary for researchers to assemble explicit chronologies of research activities. This involves finding user friendly and understandable ways for documenting methodological decision making and reflection.


• Preparing data and analysis for re-use - future users of qualitative data-sets should be able to access both data-records and analysis/interpretive texts. Ways need to be sought in order that data are available in their ‘raw’ state, as well as in ways that demonstrate how they form the evidential basis of analyses conducted. There are issues here in terms of the degree of integration of data and analyses in archiving qualitative projects.


• Integrating representational materials for later re-use - it can be argued that qualitative data are necessarily always-already interpreted, and that they cannot be considered ‘raw’, ‘pure’ or unencumbered by fieldworkers’ interpretations. To what extent, then, should archives make use of and make available the ‘written-up’ final products of research projects? Further, how can digital presentational technologies allow re-users of data to both explore and reinterpret the data ‘freely’ as well as familiarising them with the original analysis and representation?

Destinations