A major function of the Centre is to maintain an information database about the extent and availability of qualitative research material in general whether deposited in public repositories or remaining with the researcher. The data we are concerned with is from the broad spectrum of social research., from academic, policy and government, trust and charity funded research and includes in-depth interviews, fieldnotes, anthropological materials, unstructured diaries, observational recordings, audio or video tapes, photographs and so on. With the discipline of education being so broad, there is an abundance of qualitative data produced in the course of research. The Centre has surveyed almost 1500 identifiable ESRC funded qualitative social research projects dating back to 1970, by contacting principal investigators, is tracing the data arising from classic post-war sociological studies and monitors current ESRC projects. The QUALIDATA database will be available via the INTERNET from October, from which researchers will be able to search and obtain descriptions of qualitative research material, its location and accessibility. The WWW Home Page for the Centre containing detailed guidelines for depositing qualitative data, data deposited, issues relating to confidentiality and copyright, information about the Centre and links and references to other qualitative resources and repositories, has the following URL address:
This information is also available in hard copy.
Whilst there are many special collections and 'natural homes' across the UK for data in most of the social science fields we deal with, we have not, so far, made links with many repositories of existing collections of qualitative data relating to educational research who would be willing to extend access to their collections to the research community. QUALIDATA would be very grateful for any suggestions regarding suitable 'homes' for specific kinds of educational research data.
Louise Corti and Paul Thompson
QUALIDATA, Department of Sociology, University of Essex