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Edwardians: Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918, 1870-1973 (SN 2000)
Professor Paul Thompson

A full catalogue record is available from the Data Catalogue, and includes an abstract, ordering details, re-use and citation information, user guides, and publications relating to the study.

The major part of the collection comprises life story interviews originally collected as part of the study The Edwardians: Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918. The interviews were undertaken in the early 1970s and formed the basis of the first national oral history project in the United Kingdom, as well as the basis for Professor Paul Thompson's, The Edwardians, The Remaking of British Society, (1975, 1992). A total of 537 interviews were recorded on reel-to-reel audio tape and 453 later transcribed as typed, paper documents. The interviews were open-ended (guided by a schedule) and of between one and six hours duration.

Nearly all the transcripts of the interviews are available from the UK Data Archive in the form of PDF documents. These are simply the transcripts of a quality suited to digitisation. Some transcripts were not of sufficient quality to enable digitisation without labour intensive remedial work so the first wave of digitisation only included a portion of the collection. Since then further work has been carried out and the full collection will shortly be accessible as RTF files and through ESDS Qualidata Online.

A related project, Systematic Analysis of Life Histories, is also available. The aim of this was to prepare interviews collected for the Family Life and Work Experience before 1918 study for numerical coding shortly after completion. Not all of the data have been coded in the resulting data file.

The original study materials were initially archived, catalogued and disseminated by Qualidata. Full paper/microfiche transcripts are held at the National Social Policy and Social Change Archive at the University of Essex. The original sound recordings are deposited at the British Library National Sound Archive.

The Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918 data was used to create the Edwardians Online pilot project that was the precursor to ESDS Qualidata Online. The project aimed to improve access to archived, qualitative data. The main outcome of the project was an online resource that provided content-based access to a collection of oral history interviews with people who lived in Edwardian Britain.

The pilot project, aimed to create a digital multimedia resource that integrated a wealth of existing primary and secondary materials, was completed and the following features were made available online for initial evaluation:

  • a catalogue of interview summaries
  • five full electronic interview transcripts
  • thematic browsing of interview transcripts
  • a collection of digital sound clips
  • a set of contextual images of Edwardian life
  • background information and press reviews on the original Paul Thompson study
  • details of publications based upon secondary studies of the collection
  • an account of the digitisation methodology

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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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