Exploring qualitative data


One of the key challenges to doing secondary analysis of qualitative data is finding the right data. Qualitative data, by its nature, is rich, in-depth and highly contextualised, allowing for a range of topics and questions to be covered within a single point of data collection. Therefore, searching the data itself is essential in finding the right data for a re-use project. To help ease this process, the UK Data Service has developed Qualibank, an online tool to search, browse, and cite qualitative data. Rather than only searching through abstracts, titles, and keywords, as other archival catalogues typically do, Qualibank searches through the data itself. Search terms can include words used within the data (either by the researcher or the participant), including colloquial phrases or local terminology, slang terms and/or words which may not necessarily be used to describe the collection as a whole but are nonetheless covered within the data collection. In doing so, its search results may list previously overlooked collections or a wider range of data to explore for re-use.

Beyond searching through data, Qualibank contains other features to help facilitate the re-use of qualitative data. Qualibank’s database contains a range of qualitative data, including interviews, essays, open-ended question responses and reports. The texts are searched in their entirety and the search results highlight where the keyword search appears within the text. Qualibank also signposts to relevant Related Resources and Collection Documentation that relates to a specific piece of datum, including links to audio clips, images, web resources and/or publications. Finally, Qualibank allows for the citation of specific passages though its Create Citation feature. This feature creates and formats a persistent citation to a specific utterance within the text, enabling a more focused way of signposting to specific parts of a data file.

The UK Data Service is continuing to develop and add collections to Qualibank. Please help by contacting us and letting us know about your experiences of using Qualibank.

Explore QualiBank