QDR Launches Dataverse Repository: Propelling Qualitative and Multi-Method Research & Data Sharing

With its focus on qualitative and multi-method research, the Qualitative Data Repository (QDR) at Syracuse University curates, archives, and enables the sharing of qualitative research data. The Dataverse Project plays an integral part in propelling QDR’s mission to make the sharing of qualitative data a customary practice in the social sciences.

QDR recently went in search of a new data repository system to meet its needs, and after considering several options, chose Dataverse as its partner in the burgeoning field of research data management and sharing. QDR moved all of its datasets from its former repository to its new Dataverse installation.

Screenshot of QDR's Dataverse installation
A screenshot of QDR's Dataverse repository. QDR's Associate Director, Sebastian Karcher, boasts of “the significantly improved user interface for displaying, searching, and retrieving data and improvements in usability… Or to put it simpler: it looks way better and saves everyone a ton of work.”


Why did QDR choose Dataverse over other partners? According to Associate Director, Sebastian Karcher, they chose Dataverse not only because of our functionality and low maintenance cost, but also because of our strong open source community, which allows QDR the freedom to develop and customize their repository for the curation and sharing of qualitative data. Associate Director Karcher boasts of “the significantly improved user interface for displaying, searching, and retrieving data and improvements in usability… Or to put it simpler: it looks way better and saves everyone a ton of work.”

Thank you, Sebastian! The Dataverse team had QDR in mind when they conceptualized the recently launched software update, Dataverse 4.0.

Dataverse 4.0 helps users like QDR to browse, sort and filter on multiple metadata fields through its UI’s enhanced search and faceting features and through its search APIs. The Dataverse 4.0 update also overhauled its dataset permission controls and introduced data access APIs that let users access data programmatically.

The Dataverse Project and QDR look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship. We are pleased to hear that Dataverse is helping QDR, but in a lovely pilobolitic mutualism, QDR can help Dataverse as well, because it is poised to enhance Dataverse’s qualitative data sharing capabilities.

QDR’s co-directors, Diana Kapiszewski and Colin Elman, highlight the sophisticated symbiosis between Dataverse and QDR: "We have been delighted to build on our partnership with Dataverse and to further benefit from their experience and expertise. We look forward to continuing to collaborate on strengthening QDR’s technical foundation, improving QDR's user experience, and enhancing Dataverse's ability to handle qualitative data."

Associate Director Karcher shares QDR’s three strategic goals to improve Dataverse fluency with qualitative data sharing:

  1. “Much of our data are text-based, so the ability to search within text files (including PDFs and Word documents) is high on our wishlist and we hope to complete work on that this year.
  2. Similarly, qualitative data are often in multi-media files such as images and videos. We’re interested in improving how those are displayed and viewed, e.g. by offering the ability to preview and potentially even view video and audio files in Dataverse rather than downloading them.
  3. Finally, QDR has worked a lot on transparent qualitative research and we have developed a solution for that based on web annotations through the open source hypothes.is software that we call ‘Annotation for Transparent Inquiry’. We’re planning to better integrate these annotations into Dataverse.”

The Dataverse Project eagerly anticipates the fruits of the QDR Annotation for Transparent Inquiry (ATI) initiative. Standing upon the concept of ‘open annotation’, ATI will enable users to annotate specific passages within qualitative data sources and then link their annotations to other data sources that support research claims. This process promises to amplify the impact of qualitative data and energize the accessibility of qualitative research to better capture the richness and variety of human experience.

This is great news for the Murray Research Archive (MRA), which houses many qualitative research datasets. The subject of our last blog entry, the MRA and Harvard Dataverse came together in 2003. Not only will the MRA’s qualitative research roots be nurtured by QDR's efforts, but the larger Dataverse community will also benefit, because its users will have a variety of new options to find, explore, and connect research data.

Indeed, the entire field of multi-method research could be strengthened by the dynamic relationship between QDR and Dataverse.

The Dataverse Project is supported by The Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS), and thus favors quantitative research data. The Qualitative Data Repository (QDR) favors its eponymous qualitative research data.

There is propulsive rhythm to be found in the dance between qualitative and quantitative research that is uniquely suited to discern the nuances of complex, multi-faceted phenomena. Together, QDR and Dataverse can lead a quest toward the confluence of qualitative and quantitative research data, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.