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Qualitative data types

ESDS Qualidata deals with all formats of data: digital, paper (typed and hand-written), audio, video and photographic. The preference is for digital format although non-digital collections are accepted if other factors, such as the intellectual quality of the work outweigh this handicap. For dissemination the data has to be made available in a digital format. Paper-based collections can be difficult to process and involve additional work. However, much qualitative data nowadays is 'born' digital in the sense that the text is word-processed and audio-visual material is in a digitally recorded form.

Principal types of qualitative data include:

  • in-depth/unstructured interviews
  • semi-structured interviews
  • structured interview questionnaires containing substantial open comments
  • focus group
  • unstructured or semi-structured diaries
  • observation field notes/technical fieldwork notes
  • kinship diagrams/other anthropological material
  • case study notes
  • minutes of meetings
  • personal documents (e.g. letters, personal diaries, correspondence)
  • press clippings
  • photographs or any other type of visual material

Advice on managing and sharing qualitative data can be found on the Manage and Share Data section on the UK Data Archive web site.

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Pioneers of Qualitative Research
Pioneers of Qualitative Research

British social research experienced an unprecedented flourishing from the 1940s to the 1970s.

This site takes a look behind the scenes through interviews with researchers who pioneered various qualitative methods.

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