This article details the novel structure developed to handle, harmonize and document big data for reuse and long-term preservation. ‘The Longitudinal IntermediaPlus (2014–2016)’ big data dataset is uniquely rich: it covers an array of German online media extendable to cross-media channels and user information. The metadata file for this dataset, and its documentation, were recently deposited as its own MySQL database called charmstana_sample_14-16.sql (https://data.gesis.org/sharing/#!Detail/10.7802/2030) (cs16) and is suitable for generating descriptive statistics. Analogous to the ‘Data View’ in spss, the charmstana_analysis (ca) contains the dataset’s numerical values. Both the cs16 and ca MySQL files are needed to conduct analysis on the full database. The research challenge was to process large-scaled datasets into one longitudinal, big-data data source suitable for academic research, and according to fair principles. The authors review four methodological recommendations that can serve as a framework for solving big-data structuring challenges, using the harmonization software CharmStats.
The Qualitative Election Study of Britain (qesb) is the first (and only) qualitative longitudinal dataset to investigate political attitudes and voting behaviour over multiple elections and referendums in the United Kingdom. During the 2015 uk general election over 90 voters participated in 23 focus groups across England, Scotland, and Wales before and after polling day. These participants represented a range of political party supporters and independent voters, age groups, and economic backgrounds. They discussed a range of political issues including their vote choice in the election, their impressions of the major party leaders, why they would consider voting (or never voting) for a political party, and their expectations for the country moving forward. Special focus groups were also held around the three leaders’ debates. The 2015 qesb also brought back participants who had participated in the 2010 qesb focus groups and the 2014 Scottish referendum focus groups. The 2015 qesb has created a unique panel of participants whose political opinions can be tracked across multiple elections. The project also includes questions that were asked in prior election focus groups and has replicated, with some modifications, the research design of the previous wave of the study.