About the Archive

The Timescapes Archive is a specialist resource of Qualitative Longitudinal (QL) Research data. It was first set up in 2010 under the ESRC Timescapes Initiative, and has since undergone further development under the ESRC Changing Landscapes for the Third Sector project.

The resource has been developed in collaboration with the UK Data Archive, and forms part of the Institutional Repository at the University of Leeds. It is run as a joint venture between staff in the Families, Lifecourse and Generations Research Centre in the School of Sociology and Social Policy, and the University of Leeds Research Data Management Team.

Details of the Archive’s holdings can be found here.

Preservation copies of our collections are held at the UKDA.

The Archive is designed to enable the sharing and reuse of datasets that have been generated using Qualitative Longitudinal Research methods.


Since 2007 Timescapes has created a data Archive, a multi-media resource of Qualitative Longitudinal data, drawn from our network of projects. Nine QL datasets have been deposited with the archive. These are drawn from our network of empirical projects, our archiving project, and an affiliated project (Choice and Change – see affiliation list for further details). The Archive was built on an institutional repository platform at the University of Leeds, and developed in close collaboration with the UK Data Archive, of which it is a satellite, and our dedicated archiving project.

Based at the University of Leeds, the archive is open to researchers seeking to conduct secondary analysis of social research data. It offers exciting possibilities for analysing data through time, over the life course and across the generations. It is possible, for example, to bring together data on parenting across the generations, exploring young people’s experiences of being parented and their aspirations for becoming parents, early and midlife transitions to parenthood and the shifting nature of parent / child relationships in early, mid and later life.

The Stakeholder Model of Archiving.

Over the past two decades significant advances have occured in the archiving and re-use of qualitative data in the UK. Despite these advances, in 2007 qualitative datasets held nationally were under-utilised, while very few QL datasets were available for re-use. We addressed these challenges through a ‘stakeholder’ approach, which enables archiving to be seen as an integral part of the research process. Primary researchers who deposit their data with Timescapes are stakeholders in the resource. The archive serves as a safe place for primary researchers to store large volumes of data for ongoing use. The process of managing and preparing project data serves a dual purpose: it creates well organised data for longitudinal analysis, while at the same time, creating a high quality dataset, a valuable output  from a project, which is ‘archive ready’ for sharing.

The Timescapes Archive will remain open for use by researchers until August 2013, with support from our project partners (UKDA and the Leeds University Library). In 2013 we plan to bid for further archive funding under the new UK Data Service. Meanwhile, in collaboration with our affiliated projects, the work of ‘growing’ the archive continues. In the first half of 2012 we will archive data from a Department of Health Funded study on Choice and Care (Caroline Glendinning, University of York).

The archiving team has also set up an international network for the archiving of QL and Qualitative data: EQUALAN, which is advancing our work across Europe. For further details see our events pages.