Data ABC

Quantitative data | Qualitative data

The Finnish Social Science Data Archive archives and disseminates quantitative and qualitative research data in digital format. The instructions on depositing and downloading data are found on their respective pages.

The FSD does not archive books, research reports, statistics or other research publications, nor can these be ordered via the archive. Publications related to archived data can be searched, for instance, from the Melinda Union Catalogues of the National Library of Finland.

Quantitative data

A typical archived quantitative dataset has been collected as a postal survey, phone interview or face-to-face interview. The unit of observation is most frequently an individual and the survey responses are saved as data matrices. These kinds of datasets are sometimes also called numerical data or microdata. A statistics software package (e.g. SPSS, SAS or Stata) as well as at least the basic knowledge about statistics and quantitative methods are needed to analyse the data.

SPSS data view

Fig. 1. SPSS file, data view. Each column represents one variable and each row represents one unit of observation.

SPSS variable view

Fig. 2. SPSS file, variable view. The view shows information on the first ten variables, including variable name, type, width, number of decimals, variable label and value labels.

Quantitative data are by default delivered from the Service Portal Aila in SPSS Portable file format. Upon special request data are also available in other formats.

In addition to the data file itself, a dataset includes the codebook, which is usually in pdf format. The codebook contains, among other things, the abstract, frequency distribution of the variables, instrument of data collection (questionnaire, often in Finnish only), and information on the data creator(s), sampling and data collection.

Codebooks in English are freely available for the data that have already been translated into English - which means the variables (questions and response options) have been translated. Take a look at our data catalogue to see if the variable level information is already available in English for the dataset. More datasets are translated from Finnish into English for non-Finnish speaking researchers and students on request, free of charge.

Qualitative data

Qualitative datasets archived at the FSD typically contain speech, images or text in digital form. The data can consist of, for instance, diary entries, group interviews or transcribed text files of video recordings. Knowledge of qualitative methods is required when analysing qualitative data. Often-used software in qualitative analysis are, for example, Atlas.ti and NVivo. For instructions on how to process qualitative data, see: Processing Qualitative Data Files.

Qualitative data archived at the FSD are available in the original language only (mostly in Finnish) and are not translated into English.

updated 2014-05-26