Practical Problems of Archiving Semi-Structured Interviews

Grit Laudel, Jana Bielick


Research policy increasingly expects qualitative social science data to be archived and made available for reuse. However, there is a lack of empirical analyses of the practical possibilities and consequences of archiving. With our contribution we address this gap. We present a failed archiving attempt of semi-structured interviews in a sociology of science project, prompted by the request of the funding agency to provide the data for reuse. We reconstruct all decision-making processes that were made to prepare the data archiving. We had to decide whether and in what form data should be archived, how the principle of informed consent is realized, how we obtain the consent of the interviewee, how we anonymise the interviews and how context information is provided. Our analysis shows that the requirements of data protection and research ethics can lead to insurmountable research-practical problems that stand in the way of archiving qualitative data. Such problems also occur in other areas of sociology.


archiving; secondary analysis; semi-structured interview; data protection; research ethics


Copyright (c) 2019 Grit Laudel,Jana Bielick

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