The challenges and potential of a social science archive

The development of a university-based peace and security archives could serve as a vital teaching and research resource for students and faculty. It would provide researchers directly involved in peace and security research with a trusted repository to deposit their valuable and hard-earned research data and could serve as a resource for research and teaching. Further, it could serve as a foundational component of a center, program, area of study, or initiative focused on peace and security, serving as the basis for a variety of symposiums, workshops, and collaborative research projects. In particular, the development of tools that allows researchers and students to interact with research data from the archives in creative ways to formulate new findings, insights, and questions can serve as an exciting nexus between archives, research data, and scholarship.

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Why social science researchers need a university-based archive

One crucial contributing factor to the lack of reflection on practices of knowledge production is the complete absence of institutional models for archiving raw data collected by social science research, particularly transcribed interview data. In short, currently, there are no archives for primary source data collections on issues related to conflict, a fact that inhibits the field’s ability for self-reflection, training new generations of researchers, and for comparing results across studies. Arguably, only universities have the requisite concern about how knowledge is produced in addition to what knowledge is produced to provide an appropriate home for such an archive.

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