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
• 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
• 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?