In the past I have shared quantitative datasets by uploading them to data repositories (like Zenodo) as CSV-files or similar formats.

But I lack experience with regards to qualitative data such as interview transcripts.

The interviewees will be asked to agree with the sharing of the (pseudonymized or anonymized) transcripts.

But other than that, are there best practices associated with such a qualitative data-sharing? Would it be sufficient to use merely upload, say, a simple Word-document of the interview transcriptions on Zenodo? Or perhaps also a HTML-file which would contain my way of having coded the transcripts*? Is there anything else that I should take into account?

* I plan to use a specific program for coding the interview transcripts, namely RQDA, an R-package; RQDA seems to allow users to export marked-up transcripts in a HTML-file format.

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    Some national research associations have dedicated institutions for data sharing and reuse, which have their own repositories. In Austria, for example, there is AUSSDA. I would check in with your respective institution not only for data storage but also about legal/ethical issues with sharing and storing qualitative data.
    – henning
    May 8, 2021 at 9:52
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    MS Word is definately not an appropriate data sharing format. May 8, 2021 at 17:06
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    @user2705196, interesting remark that MS Word is definitely "not an appropriate data sharing format". My intuitive assumption would be that a *.doc-file would be so universally recognizable that one could upload such a file to a repository for making interview transcripts available. May I thus ask for substantiation behind your claim?
    – anpami
    May 8, 2021 at 18:26
  • "assumption would be that a *.doc-file would be so universally recognizable" The assumption is wrong. There are multiple formats more widely used and easier to reimplement in future computers. May 9, 2021 at 1:52
  • @anpami Here's a couple of points. The key is that Word is a very specific proprietary format that may or may not open on other people's computers as you intend. goldmark.org/netrants/no-word/attach.html May 9, 2021 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


If your research data comes from people, your sharing of the data needs to be approved through an ethical review process, or an exemption from that process must be obtained through the exemption process.

CSV format seems to be the most reliable data format; it does not matter if your data is quantitative of qualitative. Your choice of repository should be guided by the customs of your field and your views of the repository's reliability, not the type of data.

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    CSV is for tables, right? I think the qualitative data in question is text, perhaps with some transcription markup.
    – henning
    May 8, 2021 at 14:47
  • @henning--reinstateMonica There's no reason that cannot be recorded in a CSV format. May 9, 2021 at 1:49
  • but that doesn't make it a better choice than recording, say, temperature in musical notation. (not my dv, btw.)
    – henning
    May 9, 2021 at 5:11
  • @henning--reinstateMonica You are incorrect. CSV is a standardized format widely used for many types of data. Musical notation is a nonstandardized format widely used for one type of data. MusicXML would be more comparable to CSV. And XML is a good alternative to CSV for the asker's data. May 9, 2021 at 9:26
  • I've been working with interview transcripts my entire professional life and not once encountered them stored in tabular form. It just doesn't make any sense. Tables may be useful sometimes for some analysis of interview transcripts, but not to store the "raw" data.
    – henning
    May 9, 2021 at 9:27

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