In this section, you can find information on how to prepare your data for archiving with IQDA. Additional information is available in the Best Practice Guide produced by IQDA and TWCDI. We are happy to assist you in person with any queries that you may have in preparing your data for archiving. You can contact IQDA by email at the following address:email@example.com
1. Ethical Frameworks
Archiving qualitative data ensures that research has an impact beyond the immediate research project. However, it also requires planning to meet our ethical obligations to research participants. This includes planning to obtain informed consent and consideration of how the data should be appropriately anonymized and prepared for distribution. Depositors also need to consider access requirements and how the data can be re-used. The IQDA has developed protocols and practices to assist researchers in their endeavour to create data resources that can be shared with and re-used by the wider research community.
2. Sample Consent Forms
- This resource is currently being updated. Please check back again later.
3. Anonymisation Protocols
Please see the Best Practice Guide for guidance on anonymisation.
The IQDA Anonymisation Tool can be used to speed up the process of changing names in the transcript. It works both on mac and on pcs. The tool is in beta. If you have any difficulty using it please contact us.
To test the tool, please use the Sample Text File and the Sample Changes File, which contains the names that are to be changed. You must have Java installed for the tool to work.
4. Frequently Asked Questions About the Ethical Use of Qualitative Data
Q. Is it possible to archive qualitative data, given ethical considerations?
Yes. Qualitive Archives exist in many countries. There are major international holdings of world-class repute such as the following:
- UK Data Archive
- Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan
- The Henry A. Murray Research Archive at Harvard University
- Finnish Social Science Data Archive
- Swiss Foundation for Research in Social Sciences
All these archives have ethical frameworks and protocols governing the depositing and use of archived data.
Q. What is the difference between archiving qualitative data and quantitative data?
Many of the issues entailed in archiving qualitative and quantitative data are similar. In each case there is a risk that confidentiality might be breached, and archives have an obligation to ensure that data is protected through appropriate anonymization, through the withdrawal of sensitive data and so on. The Irish Qualitative Data Archive has a role in establishing procedures and protocols in line with international best practice appropriate to qualitative data.
Q. How does the IQDA ensure that the archive meets it’s ethical commitments?
The IQDA has developed an Ethical Use Framework with four interconnecting components
- Informed consent to archive obtained at the time of fieldwork
- The appropriate use of a rigorous anonymization protocol.
- A rights management framework that includes depositor and end-user licenses and legal agreements, in which the user undertakes not to breach confidentiality by using identifiable information in published work or to try and contact research subjects, and agrees to ethical use and re-use of the data.
- A system of options for access and user restrictions; for example, access to very sensitive data may be closed for a period of time.
In addition, together with all social science researchers in Ireland, we subscribe to the ethical standards imposed by professional organizations such as the Sociological Association of Ireland. Part of our role involves alerting researchers to these standards, thus promoting high quality research procedures. Our work here is also informed by the RESPECT project, which was funded by the European Commission’s Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme, to draw up professional and ethical guidelines for the conduct of socio-economic research.
- The Respect Project
- Ethical guidelines of the Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI)
- Ethical guidelines of the British Sociological Association
- Code of ethics of the American Sociological Association
- Maynooth University statements on Ethical Research
5. Preferred file formats
Please see the Digital Repository of Ireland Factsheet on file formats
If you are unsure of the suitability of your file formats please contact IQDA for advice.
6. Providing Guides to Your Archived Material
When depositing your data with the IQDA, it is very useful for future researchers if you include supplementary documents that provide contextual information about the data and the data gathering process. The supplementary document should provide a brief overview of the key questions and themes that emerged from your research. This document will be searchable and so will be an important way researchers will find your dataset. Information about the data gathering process also provides future researchers with a context for interpreting the data. This could include many types of information, for example, where the interviews were conducted, or news stories that were prevalent at the time the research was conducted that may have influenced the interviewees responses. The contextual document should also contain a guide to any interviews that enable future researchers to select particular interviews that are relevant to their research.
Please see the DRI publication on contextual information
7. Depositor and End-user Licenses and Legal Agreements
In order to deposit data to the IQDA, the depositor and the IQDA must sign a depositor license and legal agreement. The IQDA works with the depositer to address any concerns with confidentiality and access they may have, and will assist the depositor in developing an archiving strategy appropriate to the data. Additionally in order to use the data, end-users must complete a data access form and enter into a legal agreement with the IQDA.