Qualitative data provide rich information on research questions in diverse fields. Recent calls for increased transparency and openness in research emphasize data sharing. However, qualitative data sharing has yet to become the norm internationally and is particularly uncommon in the United States. Guidance for archiving and secondary use of qualitative data is required for progress in this regard. In this study, we review the benefits and concerns associated with qualitative data sharing and then describe the results of a content analysis of guidelines from international repositories that archive qualitative data. A minority of repositories provide qualitative data sharing guidelines. Of the guidelines available, there is substantial variation in whether specific topics are addressed. Some topics, such as removing direct identifiers, are consistently addressed, while others, such as providing an anonymization log, are not. We discuss the implications of our study for education, best practices, and future research.
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics – SAGE
Published: Feb 1, 2018