The collection area of the Research Data Centre comprises all analysable and empirical material from the field of higher education research and science studies.
Not only quantitative data, i.e. data from standardised surveys, which are usually collected with random samples and allow for procedures of conclusive statistical analysis, are part of the FDZ-DZHW's collection area, but also data based on qualitative methods. Characteristic of qualitative social research, in contrast to the linear research logic of quantitative methods, is the circularity in the research process, which means that there is a constant alternation between data collection and evaluation.
The spectrum of qualitative survey methods ranges from various interview procedures (narrative, problem-centred, episodic individual and pair interviews, expert interviews, (focus) group discussions) to (participating) observations and document analysis. The methods of qualitative data evaluation also show an enormous variety. In addition to the various procedures of qualitative content analysis, the broad arsenal of qualitative evaluation methods also includes, among others, narrative analysis, the documentary method, grounded theory methodology and objective hermeneutics. Qualitative data can originate both from purely qualitative (triangulated) research designs and from surveys that follow a mixed-method approach.