Fostering habits of care: Reframing qualitative data sharing policies and practices
This article argues that navigating the formalized, regulated and institutionalized data sharing landscape is challenging for researchers tasked with making qualitative data available for re-use. Archiving empirical material has progressively become a requirement enshrined in the policies of UK research institutions. Yet, how qualitative researchers feature – as data (co)creators and curators – within a process governed largely by quantitative data management strategies remains undocumented. Using examples from the ESRC Timescapes initiative, this article argues that to advance ethical practice in qualitative secondary analysis (QSA), data sharing policies and practices need to be re-framed to respect, value and care for the particularities of qualitative data and the emotional, intellectual and temporal investments made by qualitative researchers working in an increasingly pressurized Higher Education (HE) environment. Accordingly, ideas from the ethics of care literature are employed to propose areas where ‘habits of care’, attuned to the needs of qualitative researchers and data, can be fostered.