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Alive and kicking! Keeping data re-usable in the European Values Study ...
Alive and kicking! Keeping data re-usable in the European Values Study
Evelyn Brislinger, Astrid Recker
GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences
Repeated cross-national surveys generate huge amounts of cross-linked data and metadata. To enable replication and to make this data re-usable in new research contexts, thorough and standardized documentation of data and project workflow is indispensable. However, in the social sciences, data and documentation often undergo a continuous process of correction, refinement, and further development. These processes need to be documented too, especially to allow data providers to build on these results and experiences in preparation of the next wave.
In this paper, we use the European Values Study (EVS) 1981-2008 to illustrate the challenges to be met in the active curation of extensive amounts of data and documentation created, altered, and re-used across the survey life-cycle. Outlining how these challenges are met by the EVS, we will particularly discuss the following questions: Looking beyond the “standard” documentation of data and survey methods, what supporting contextual information should accompany data to ensure their effective “migration” and use across waves? Especially relevant in a project composed of 125 national surveys covering 49 countries and spanning almost 30 years is the question which preservation metadata is needed to achieve this objective and thus support the long-term accessibility of data and contextual information?