The European Landscape of Qualitative Social Research Archives: Methodological and Practical Issues


  • Louise Corti ESDS Qualidata



qualitative data, data archiving, re-using data, secondary analysis, Qualidata, methodology, data sharing, infrastructure, European landscape


In this article I set about describing current practices in archiving and reusing qualitative data. I discuss where can you find archived sources of qualitative data, and discuss some of the debates surrounding methodological, ethical and theoretical considerations relating to re-using data. I then address more pragmatic issues involved acquiring, preserving, providing access to and supporting the use of the data. Where best do qualitative data collections sit—in traditional libraries or archives alongside historical documents or as part of more holistic digital collections of contemporary social science research resources? This question relates to accessibility, resource discovery and cataloging methods, data preparation and documentation and promotional and outreach efforts to encourage data use.

The ESDS Qualidata unit at the UK Data Archive is used as case study for showcasing archival practices, and is situated within the broader European landscape of social science-oriented data archives. Infrastructure requirements for running an archive are discussed and a look forward future developments.



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Author Biography

Louise Corti, ESDS Qualidata

Louise CORTI is an Associate Director at the UK Data Archive, having strategic and line-management responsibilities for the sections of ESDS Qualidata, Outreach & Training and Research Data Management Support Services. Louise has been involved with qualitative data archiving since 1994, has published in the area and regularly acts as consultant for new qualitative data archives which are setting up. Louise's research activities are focused in three main areas: re-purposing social science research data for learning and teaching; new methods for sharing and re-using qualitative research data; and standards and technologies for archiving and presenting digital social science data. Before joining the Archive in 2000, Louise was Deputy Director of Qualidata, the world first national qualitative data archive, from 1994.




How to Cite

Corti, L. (2011). The European Landscape of Qualitative Social Research Archives: Methodological and Practical Issues. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(3).



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