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It's about Relationships, It's about Ethics, It's about Respect: Qualitative Researchers' Understandings of Their Practice and the Implications for Data Archivng and Sharing

Presenter 1
Lynda Cheshire
University of Queensland
Presenter 2
Alex Broom
University of Sydney
Presenter 3
Michael Emmison
University of Queensland

With qualitative data archiving emerging as a distinct possibility in Australia, the practices and 'use' of qualitative research are coming under increased scrutiny and reflection. The recent development of a qualitative data archive (AQuA) by the Australian Social Science Data Archive (ASSDA) provides an opportunity for qualitative researchers to reflect, not only upon the feasibility of qualitative data archiving, but on the core assumptions of their work and the extent to which qualitative data lend themselves to sharing and secondary analysis. Drawing on a series of focus groups with qualitative researchers, we critically explore the meanings ascribed to qualitative research practice and the perceived challenges posed by contemporary technological innovations in data management, access, and analysis. As well as raising concerns over the ethical and intellectual property implications of data sharing, focus group participants frequently referred to the uniqueness of qualitative research as an artistic endeavour that is both personal and solitary, yet at the same time involves special relationships with participants, data and research partners. The accounts presented provide insight into key debates (and divergences) within the qualitative community regarding the values and meanings of qualitative practice, but also how data archiving may come to challenge these core values.

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