Utilizing data from a lost sociological project: experiences, insights, promises
journal contributionposted on 2010-08-17, 14:24 authored by Henrietta O'Connor, John Goodwin
In 2000 data from a little known sociological study was ‘re-discovered’, stored in an attic office. The archived data comprised original interview schedules that documented the early work experiences of Leicester’s youth in the 1960s. Forty years on, the original respondents have been traced and re-interviewed as they make the transition from work to retirement. This article examines the complex methodological issues associated with reanalysing, tracing and reinterviewing respondents after such a considerable time lapse. We examine our methodological approach using the concept of qualitative longitudinal research (QLR) as a framework for understanding this process. We also reflect on the value of such longitudinal qualitative research. We conclude by drawing out some of the issues surrounding QLR and the implication of our experiences and insights for those who are now building such longitudinal datasets and the promise such data hold.