Qualitative questionnaires as a method for information studies research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction. We present qualitative questionnaires, originally an ethnological method for documenting and collecting material about everyday life, as a fruitful method for information studies.
Method. Since the early 20th century qualitative questionnaires, on various themes, have been sent out to informants. The answers to qualitative questionnaires consist of memories, opinions and experiences. Most archives working with questionnaires have regular informants who have enrolled because they are interested in sharing their knowledge of and views on everyday life. The paper starts with a brief presentation of the development of the method followed by a discussion about how answers to qualitative questionnaires may be analysed to benefit the most from the specifics of this tool. Examples from two studies based on material from the Mass Observation Archive, University of Sussex, and the Folklife Archives, Lund University, are introduced. The examples are chosen to illustrate two possible ways to adopt this method: to re-use an existing questionnaire and to create a new one.
Conclusion. Qualitative questionnaires generate a rich material, useful for researchers from many disciplines. The material provided by the respondents is highly informative of various aspects of everyday life, past and present, and merits more attention from scholars
Original languageEnglish
Article number1639
JournalInformation Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 14
EventThe Nineth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science (CoLIS) - Uppsala Univerity, Uppsala, Sweden
Duration: 2016 Jun 272016 Jun 29

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Information Studies


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