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Qualitative Research

A guide to help with qualitative research methods and finding qualitative data.

Where are Datasets Located?

Data and datasets can be located in many different types of repositories with varying levels of access. Some may be openly available and accessible without restrictions. Some may require you as a researcher to agree to certain terms of use or be granted individual approval to view and access the dataset but is otherwise openly accessible. And certain types of data may be proprietary in nature and, therefore, not freely accessible. This proprietary data will only be available via a subscription-based database.

Below, you'll find a list of repositories that you may use to locate qualitative datasets. Keep in mind, this is only a small sampling of what may be available to you.

Searching Library Databases for Downloadable Datasets

The largest repository of standardized and structured statistical data.

Primarily a data visualization tool, this resource hosts a number of public datasets that can be visualized using maps. The datasets can be queried and downloaded for use in other applications.

Qualitative and quantitative datasets useful for learning and testing software.

Searching Open Repositories for Datasets

Open Academic Repositories

A free data repository open to all researchers from any discipline, both inside and outside of the Harvard community, where you can share, archive, cite, access, and explore research data.

To ensure no one is left behind through lack of access to the necessary tools and resources, Zenodo makes the sharing, curation, and publication of data and software a reality for all researchers.

Open Data Repositories

Curates, stores, preserves, publishes, and enables the download of digital data generated through qualitative and multi-method research in the social sciences.

Maintains a data archive of more than 250,000 files of research in the social and behavioral sciences. It hosts twenty-one specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields.

A repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable, and discoverable manner.

Similar to how Google Scholar works, Dataset Search helps you find datasets wherever they are hosted, whether it's the publisher's site, a digital library, or an author's personal webpage. If you need help requesting a dataset that isn't freely available, please reach out to a librarian for help obtaining access.

Inside Kaggle you'll find all the code and data you need to do your data science work. Use over 50,000 public datasets and 400,000 public notebooks to conquer any analysis in no time.

Practice Datasets

This classic dataset includes training and testing data (to practice building models and seeing if they cross-validate) trying to predict whether people survived the Titanic disaster in 1912.

A classic dataset for analysis. This looks at national happiness and other data by country over several years. It contains categorical and continuous data and has data nested within countries over time.