Qualitative Archiving and Data Sharing Scheme (QUADS) Showcase Day27 September 2006 - 28 December 2006Museum of London

QUADS is the ESRC Qualitative Archiving and Data Sharing Scheme, running from April 2005 until October 2006. The aim of the scheme is to develop and promote innovative methodological approaches to the archiving, sharing, re-use and secondary analysis of qualitative research and data. A range of new models for increasing access to qualitative data resources, and for extending the reach and impact of qualitative studies will be explored. The scheme also aims to disseminate good practice in qualitative data sharing and research archiving. This is part of the ESRC’s initiative to increase the UK resource of highly skilled researchers, and to fully exploit the distinctive potential offered by qualitative research and data.

QUADS is a small initiative (some £500,000 over 18 months) and is dedicated to the mission of learning more about sharing, representation and re-use of qualitative data, in all of its disparate shapes and forms. Five small exploratory projects were funded together with a co-ordination role, run by ESDS Qualidata at Essex. The projects address both methodological, information and technical matters. Four common challenges were identified for the QUADS scheme: defining and capturing data context; audio-visual archiving; consent, confidentiality and IPR; and web and metadata standards. Capturing degrees of context enables informed re-use of data. QUADS is devising and recommending a minimum set of contextual constructs that would be necessary to document a collection of qualitative data to enable informed secondary use. The methods of archiving and sharing of digital audio-visual data from qualitative research is fairly new. As many of the QUADS projects are handling these kinds of data, the scheme provided an opportunity to share expertise on presenting and re-using such sources. Consent, confidentiality and copyright perhaps provide the greatest challenges for re-using qualitative data and many the QUADS projects have addressed specific consent and copyright issues. 

Finally, in order to approach primary data now and in the future, there is a need for that data to be accurately, richly and contextually described. And in turn, re-presentation of original data, methods and analytic interpretation and their interweaving requires agreed and exemplary standards and procedures. Emerging innovations in qualitative methods must be anticipated, including new data forms, sources, possibilities for research archiving and data mining and the potential for increased participation and access. 

This one day conference will showcase the demonstrators from the five projects and some additional partner projects that cover many of these cutting edge issues. Participants will have an opportunity to hear about the projects and the teams experiences, and see the web sites and tools created by the projects. The projects afford unique case studies that can be used in the future to help inform those wishing to publish online and share qualitative data.