Towards Qualitative Data Preservation and Re-Use—Policy Trends and Academic Controversies in UK and Sweden

  • Zoran Slavnic Linköping University
Keywords: qualitative data preservation, qualitative data re-use, qualitative data archiving, qualitative databases in Sweden


The article considers current policy trends and academic controversies related to qualitative data preservation and re-use. In the first part of the article, the epistemological/methodological, ethical/legal, ideological/political, and practical/technical aspects of the ongoing British debate about data archiving and re-use are presented and commented. In the second part, the Swedish case is briefly described and considered in light of the academic concerns that have been raised by the British debate. The situation in Sweden may be summarized in three points: First, there are many signs that the infrastructure for qualitative data archiving and re-use is being developed without the active participation of sufficient representatives of the qualitative research community; second, there are many signs that developing the infrastructure takes as a point of departure neo-positivistic or foundational epistemology, treating qualitative data in the same way as quantitative data, with all the methodological problems resulting from this; and third there are very few, if any, signs that serious academic debate has started in relation to all the issues that have been raised by the corresponding debate in Britain.



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Author Biography

Zoran Slavnic, Linköping University

Zoran SLAVNIC is a sociologist and researcher at the Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO), Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Linkoping University, Sweden. His main research interests are ethnic entrepreneurship, informal economy as well as sociological theory and methodology of social sciences.

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