Whatever Is Not Explicitly Permitted Is Prohibited: Privacy in Qualitative Interviews


  • Tobias Gebel Universität Bielefeld
  • Matthis Grenzer Georg-August Universität Göttingen
  • Julia Kreusch Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung
  • Stefan Liebig Universität Bielefeld
  • Heidi Schuster Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V.
  • Ralf Tscherwinka Unternehmensrechtskanzlei Dr. Hönig
  • Oliver Watteler GESIS – Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
  • Andreas Witzel




archiving, privacy, informed consent, qualitative interview, secondary analysis, Germany


Qualitative data in the social sciences and economics have new requirements for their use in research practice. Funding agencies require more long-term archiving of data. The standards of "good scientific practice" expect data access beyond the research project. Furthermore, international journals expect published research results to be more transparent and traceable. To answer the demands of digital long-term preservation and data-sharing, three problems can be identified. 1. Archiving and sharing data require the consent of participants. 2. Data need to be anonymized as soon as the purpose of the research makes it possible. 3. Current privacy laws contain an obligation to delete personal data.

In order to find solutions for these problems, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) founded the working group "Privacy and qualitative data." In this working group qualitative researchers and lawyers developed references/suggestions for the practical handling of qualitative interview data. In this this article we present the results of the working group.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1502279


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How to Cite

Gebel, T., Grenzer, M., Kreusch, J., Liebig, S., Schuster, H., Tscherwinka, R., … Witzel, A. (2015). Whatever Is Not Explicitly Permitted Is Prohibited: Privacy in Qualitative Interviews. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 16(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-16.2.2266

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