A Total Quality Framework Approach to Sharing Qualitative Research Data: Comment on DuBois et al. (2018)

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The aspects of data sharing that have been discussed—in psychology and other social science disciplines—generally revolve around archival and ethical issues such as informed consent and confidentiality. Although we support DuBois, Strait, and Walsh (2018) in their call for qualitative data sharing, we believe greater attention is needed on the positive effect data sharing will have on the quality of qualitative research design and its ability to foster a greater understanding of the human experiences researchers hope to improve. We believe, however, that the true value of data sharing will largely be determined by the materials and resources that researchers actually choose to archive. To that end, we propose an approach to sharing that is facilitated by our Total Quality Framework (Roller & Lavrakas, 2015) and that provides researchers with an efficient way to think about and organize the types of information to share about their qualitative studies. We believe that this approach will serve as a useful guide to bring comprehensiveness and consistency to data sharing that will ultimately reward qualitative researchers with heightened attention to quality designs that serve to deepen the usefulness of their research outcomes. We also believe that data sharing that is comprehensive and consistent will provide considerable benefits to the field of qualitative research that will not be as likely to accrue if data sharing is done in an idiosyncratic way from researcher to researcher.

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