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

Louise Corti


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 Where best do qualitative data collections sit—in traditional libraries or archives alongside historical documents or as part of more holistic digital collections of contemporary social science research resources?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.



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

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Copyright (c) 2011 Louise Corti

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