The Concept and Architecture of the Bremen Life Course Archive

  • Diane Opitz Graduate School of Social Sciences
  • Andreas Witzel
Keywords: archiving qualitative data, secondary use of interviews, anonymization strategies, data protection, informational self-determination, feasibility study

Abstract

The Bremen Life Course Archive was built up based on the recommendation from the German Research Council (DFG) in 2000 to make the data material of the Special Collaborative Centre 186 "Status Passages and the Risk of Life Course" available to prospective users. Approximately 700 interview texts have been made anonymous, documented and deposited into a digital archive. Due to the sensitive nature of qualitative data, we prepared a detailed concept of anonymity and data protection. Special analyses of interviews are hardly possible without an awareness of biographical details, and as a rule it is necessary to know the whole context since the structure of the narration forms a basic requirement for text interpretation. There remains the question of clarifying under which conditions qualitative data can be given to other researchers for the purpose of secondary use. At the moment we realize a nationwide feasibility study to examine whether and to what extent social scientists are eligible as potential data providers or as future users of secondary qualitative data for research and theory. The question of feasibility should not only make us look more closely at the development of technical solutions for professional processing of the data material or the development of digitized administration and archives, but it should also take the conceptions of the secondary users seriously. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0502370

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Author Biographies

Diane Opitz, Graduate School of Social Sciences
Diane OPITZ. Present position: Researcher ("Archiving and Secondary Analysis of Qualitative Interviews in Germany") at the Life-Course-Archive, Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS), University of Bremen. Major research areas: archiving qualitative data; concepts of anonymization; software for qualitative data analysis.
Andreas Witzel
Andreas WITZEL (http://www.qualitative-research.net/fqs/beirat/witzel-e.htm). Present position: Director of the Life-Course-Archive, project management ("Archiving and Secondary Analysis of Qualitative Interviews in Germany") at the Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS), University of Bremen. Major research areas: archiving qualitative data; interpretative social research; occupational socialization; biography and life course.
Published
2005-05-31
Section
Part 2: The Why and How of Archiving Qualitative Data

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