University Of Tasmania

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A not so strange silence: Why qualitative researchers should respond critically to the qualitative data archive

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 02:57 authored by Maxwell TraversMaxwell Travers
A driving force behind the establishment of a qualitative data archive in the United Kingdom has been the oral historian, Paul Thompson. He has complained that there is a 'strange silence' among qualitative sociologists on re-analysis, and that many have been reluctant to deposit data. The first part of the paper suggests that the common ethical and practical objections can be overcome in establishing an archive in Australia. However, there is a more serious underlying ideological objection: that archiving promotes and institutionalises a narrow empiricist version of qualitative research. The rest of the paper makes this case by examining teaching materials on a British website, by reviewing Thompson's arguments, and by considering some examples of re-analysis by sociologists. It is argued that qualitative researchers should respond critically, but that it is possible to address and overcome these problems when developing an Australian archive.


Publication title

Australian Journal of Social Issues








School of Social Sciences


Australian Council Social Service Inc

Place of publication

Locked Bag 4777, Level 2 619 Elizabeth St Redfern, Strawberry Hills, Australia, Nsw, 2012

Rights statement

Copyright 2009 Australian Council Social Service Inc

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in human society

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