School of Sociology and Social Policy

Timescapes: An ESRC Qualitative Longitudinal Initiative

Managing your data for archiving

Preparing data to be archived with Timescapes

These guidelines offer a checklist for projects affiliated with, or considering affiliating with, Timescapes.  They will guide you how to prepare data so you can archive it with Timescapes and share it with other researchers. Our Guide to Data Management Planning for QL researchers is availble here:

Consent

If you are already intending to obtain written informed consent from your participants, then it is straightforward to discuss data sharing with them as well. Research participants are broadly supportive of archiving when they understand that only certified researchers will use the data. The generic Timescapes consent form is available below.

Here is an example of the form adapted for use with young people:

Anonymisation

When anonymising your data, you will need to consider carefully the implications of sharing your data beyond the original project team. In cases of sensitive data, this anonymisation may need to be more comprehensive.  

Transcription

The generic transcription template includes a cover page of descriptive data; this page may need to be customised for your project.

Documentation

The Timescapes Archive holds not only data but also extensive documentation intended to assist those reusing the data by providing as much original contextual information as possible. Timescapes also attached keywords to interviews and other data that describes the covered themes. These may need to be different to address topics specific to your project.

Formats

Copyright

Typically, researchers own copyright in the data they produce. Copyright is not transferred to an archive when depositing data; archives ask researchers to sign a license so archives can share data. However, whenever data are reproduced – be it for publication or in an archive – it is necessary to establish clear copyright of that data. This is covered in the consent form above, but some data (any produced by someone other than the researcher) will need to be addressed.

Access controls

In some instances, researchers may want to have greater control over which data they share: for example, video cannot be anonymised without damaging the quality of data and its value for re-use. In such cases, limiting access may be a better option. The Timescapes team has decided on four categories of access. You should discuss how you might implement these categories in your project with the Timescapes Archivist.

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