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QDR stores digital data generated and analyzed through qualitative and multi-method research. The repository’s holdings include multiple types of qualitative data including (but not limited to) unpublished primary sources, published primary sources, primary sources cited in secondary sources, and secondary sources.

Data are stored in a variety of formats and media: alpha-numeric (e.g., word-processed text, databases, spreadsheets), audio (digital and non-digital), video, and photographic (digital and non-digital).

All QDR users can browse data (i.e., engage with QDR data projects and data files according to pre-structured categories) or search data (i.e., discover data projects and data files using specific search terms) to identify relevant QDR holdings.  Browses and searches of QDR data return metadata for relevant projects and files.

We offer a series of search tips to help scholars to discover data.

We invite visitors to view the pilot projects that are being prepared to illustrate qualitative data archiving.

Access to Data

Only users who have registered (i.e., have agreed to QDR’s General Terms and Conditions of Use) and logged in can view, explore on-line, and/or download data projects, individual data files, or attendant documentation (e.g., interview protocols or human subjects consent forms) shared via QDR.  Beyond this requirement, which data projects and data files registered QDR users can access depends upon: 

  • Whether they are affiliated with an institution that has become a member of QDR (institutional memberships will be established in the second half of 2016);
  • Whether the desired data are subject to special restrictions beyond those outlined in QDR’s General Terms and Conditions of Use.

Registered users who are affiliated with an institution that is a member of QDR have access to a broader range of data projects and data files than do registered users with no such affiliation. Registered users without such an affiliation can use QDR’s open-access resources, typically data arising from research funded by entities requiring that data be made generally available. Until institutional memberships are established later this year, all data housed in QDR will be available to all registered users (subject to any special restrictions mentioned below). 

Depositors may request special restrictions on the access to or use of some or all of their data (in addition to the restrictions specified in QDR’s General Terms and Conditions of Use, which apply to all data deposited in and accessed from QDR).  Typically these special restrictions will involve human subjects or copyright concerns, and/or require registered users who wish to access the constrained data to establish a bona fide scholarly purpose for their use. Even when a data depositor does not request additional restrictions, QDR staff may decide that circumstances warrant their use.

Download Process

The usual procedure for accessing data from QDR is as follows:

  • A user searches/browses QDR data projects and data files.
  • If a user would like to view and/or download a data project or data file, she must log in (note that users must be registered with QDR in order to log in).
  • If the registered user is allowed access to the data (subject to the institutional affiliation and special restrictions conditions described above), she will be prompted to execute a Standard Download Agreement containing a subset of the terms and conditions included in the General Terms and Conditions of Use to which she agreed upon registration; if she previously completed a Standard Download Agreement, she will simply need to acknowledge a reminder that she has done so.
  • If one or more of the data files the registered user wishes to view/download have access controls on them (stipulated by the depositor), the registered user is presented with a screen outlining those access controls and must acknowledge them. If the depositor elected “Deposit-Approved Access,” the registered user must complete and submit a Special Download Agreement
  • QDR staff review the prospective downloader’s agreements and, if warranted, the depositor does so as well.  Once all approvals have been given, QDR advises the downloader that permission has been granted to download the data, and frees the data for download.
  • Some data projects (e.g., restricted off-line access and embargoed data) are not available for immediate download, and will need to be ordered in advance.

Use of Data Shared via QDR

QDR allows tracking of downloads and use of the data it holds. As QDR’s General Terms and Conditions of Use indicate, data downloaded from QDR and reused must be properly cited using a standard format provided by QDR; this ensures that depositors receive credit for the data they have archived and shared. Proper citation for data accessed from QDR can be found in the User Guide for the relevant data project. Scholars who use data held in QDR—for example in a paper, thesis or dissertation, publication, blog, or presentation—are required to advise QDR that they have done so, and to provide a bibliographic citation to that publication.  This allows QDR to demonstrate the impact of the original data, and scholars to be recognized and rewarded for data they create and share.

Data Copyright

The contents of the Qualitative Data Repository (“QDR”) are made publicly available for use in education, scholarship, research, teaching, and private study. The written permission of the copyright owners or other rights holders (such as publicity or privacy rights) may be required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by the Copyright Act’s provision on fair use or other statutory exemptions.

The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections often makes it difficult to determine the copyright status of an item. QDR and Syracuse University do not hold the copyright for the materials made available here. Users are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of any material they may wish to deposit or download for their use, investigating the owner of the copyright and obtaining permission for any intended use, or determining the applicability of any statutory exemptions.

QDR and Syracuse University are always interested in learning more about our collections. If you have information regarding materials held in the repository, please contact us at