If you plan to deposit your data with the Irish Qualitative Data Archive, you must complete and sign a Depositor Agreement Form with the IQDA.
Download the IQDA Depositor License and Legal Agreement form
To deposit your data with the Irish Qualitative Data Archive, please follow these steps:
- Download the IQDA Depositor License and Legal Agreement form
- Complete the form for return to the IQDA at the
- following address:
- Contact the IQDA to arrange the deposition of your data
IQDA c/o NIRSA,
National University of Ireland Maynooth,
In this section, you can find information on how to prepare your data for archiving with IQDA. This information is also available in the Best Practice Handbook produced by IQDA.
We are happy to assist you in person with any queries that you may have in preparing your data for archiving. You can contact IQDA by email at the following address: email@example.com
1. Ethical Frameworks
The links below indicate best practise developed in by other organisations and discussion of the issues involved. Archiving qualitative data ensures that research work done has an impact beyond the immediate research project. However, it does raise questions on how the initial research is conducted. These include the issues of how to obtain informed consent and how qualitative data can be anonymised and prepared for distribution. There also needs to be consideration of access requirements and re-use of the data. The IQDA will develop suggested protocols and practices to assist researchers in their endeavour to create data resources which can archived and thus used by the wider research community.
2. Sample Consent Forms
IQDA Sample Consent Form
The UK site, ESDS Qualidata also provide useful discussions on the ethical and legal issues to be considered when obtaining consent. The site also proves examples of sample consent forms, see: www.esds.ac.uk
3. Anonymisation Tools and Protocols
The IQDA Anonymisation Tool can be used to speed up the process of changing names in the transcript. It works both on mac and on pcs. The tool is in beta. If you have any difficulty using it please contact us.
- Download the IQDA Anonymisation Tool
- Download the IQDA Anonymisation Protocol
- Download the IQDA Anonymisation Tool instructions
To test the tool, please use the Sample Text File and the Sample Changes File, which contains the names that are to be changed
The Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) have created a transcript anonymization tool which speeds up the process of changing names in transcript. Their guide to preserving respondent privacy can be found here.
4. Frequently Asked Questions About the Ethical Use of Qualitative Data
Q. Is it possible to archive qualitative data, given ethical considerations?
Yes. Qualitive Archives exist in many countries. There are major international holdings already of world-class repute as follows:
All these archives have ethical frameworks that govern the depositing and use of archive data.
Q. What is the difference between archiving qualitative data and quantitative data?
Many of the issues entailed in archiving qualitative and quantitative data are similar. In each case there is a risk that confidentiality might be breached, and archives have an obligation to ensure that data is protected through anonymisation, through the withdrawal of sensitive data and so on. The Irish Qualitative Data Archive have a role in establishing procedures and protocols in line with international best practice appropriate to qualitative data.
Q. How does the IQDA ensure that the archive meets it’s ethical commitments?
The IQDA has developed an Ethical Use Framework drawing on best practice developed at ESDS Qualidata, which is the UK National Qualitative Data Archive; Timescapes, which is a multidisciplinary longitudinal qualitative project based at the University of Leeds; and the Henry Murray Archives which is based at Harvard University, Boston, USA.
There are four interconnecting components to this framework. The first is informed consent to archive obtained at the time of the fieldwork. The IQDA has prepared pro-forma letters and forms that have been used in previous Irish and UK studies. The second is the use of a rigorous anonymisation protocol. Such a protocol has been developed by the IQDA based on the experience of Irish and UK research projects. The third component is a Rights Management Framework which includes depositor and end-user licenses and legal agreements, in which the user undertakes not to breach confidentiality by using identifiable information in published work or to try and contact research subjects, and agrees to ethical use and re-use of the data. Finally the last component is a system of options for access and user restrictions; for example, access to very sensitive data may be closed for a period of time.
In addition, along with all social science researchers in Ireland, we subscribe to the ethical standards imposed by professional organizations such as the Sociological Association of Ireland. Part of our role involves alerting researchers to these standards, thus promoting high quality research procedures. Our work here is also informed by the RESPECT project, which was funded by the European Commission’s Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme, to draw up professional and ethical guidelines for the conduct of socio-economic research.
5. Audio Formats
- Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) (.flac)
- WAV file (.wav)
- MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3)
- Audio Interchange File Format (.aiff)
Note: Many commercial digital diction recorders produced by Olympus, Philips and Grundig record in DSS format, which is not ideal if the data is to be archived. When buying a recorder ensure it records in WAV format and at a minimum 44.1k sampling rate
Further information on audio technology can be found at
If you are unsure of the suitability of your file formats please contact IQDA for advice.
6. Text Formats
- Rich Text Format (.rtf)
- Plain text data, ASCII (.txt)
- eXtensible Markup Language (XML) marked-up text according to an appropriate Document Type Definition (DTD) or schema
- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
- widely-used proprietary formats e.g. Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx)
- Proprietary/software-specific formats such as NUD*IST, NVivo and ATLAS.ti
If you are unsure of the suitability of your file formats please contact IQDA for advice.
7. Digital Image Formats
- TIFF (version 6) uncompressed
- JPEG (.jpeg, .jpg)
- TIFF (other versions)
- Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF/A or PDF)
- raw image format (.RAW)
Note: software-specific formats (such as, for example, Photoshop .psd files) may be acceptable, but contributors should contact IQDA for advice If you are unsure of the suitability of your file formats please contact IQDA for advice.
8. Providing Guides to Your Archived Material
When depositing your data with the Archive, it is very useful for future researchers if you include supplementary documents that provide contextual information about the data and the data gathering process. The supplementary document should provide a brief overview of the key questions and themes that emerged from your research. This document will be searchable and so will be an important way researchers will find your dataset. Information about the data gathering process also provides future researchers with a context for interpreting the data. This could include many types of information, for example, where the interviews were conducted, or news stories that were prevalent at the time the research was conducted that may have influenced the interviewees responses. The contextual document should also contain a guide to any interviews that enable future researchers to select particular interviews that are relevant to their research.
Depositor and End-user Licenses and Legal Agreements
In order to deposit data to the IQDA, the depositor and the IQDA must sign a depositor license and legal agreement. The IQDA works with the depositer to address any concerns with confidentiality and access they may have, and will assist the depositor in developing an archiving strategy appropriate to the data. Additionally in order to use the data, end-users must complete a data access form and sign a legal agreement with the IQDA.
IQDA EDUCATION RESOURCES
Collection of audio and visual material covering a series of sociological topics. The IQDA Learning Resources work as a self-guided learning tool for students.
Collection of audio clips that educators can use in the classroom. Educators can also apply to the IQDA for access to transcripts for teaching purposes.
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