I just published my qualitative data – 5 years after book publication

civil-religion-headQualitative data can be made available for replication. I have been advocating this by interviewing Todd Landman and Ingo Rohlfing on my blog. It suddenly occurred to me that I don’t have my own qualitative data published. They are now on the Dataverse. I admit that I had to dig deep in on my external hard drive to find them again.

civil_religion_coverAfter claiming that qualitative data can be made available just as we all expect from statistical work, I remembered that the data for my own book have been sitting hidden on my external hard drive for over five years. It took me thirty minutes to find them again – so maybe I should not be so upset when authors reply they have to ‘dig their data up’ when I ask for their help.

How do you replicate interpretation?

I had to put quite a bit of thought into what I will actually put online. I did a critical discourse analysis of George W. Bush’s speeches after 9/11. The goal was to determine if his rhetoric was overly religious – as many Europeans felt – or just civil religious. This was not formal coding, but a close reading and interpretation of key terms such as sacrifice. How can one make this reproducible?

I will (…) track American civil religion in Bush’s rhetoric: God and mission, freedom, sacrifice, and rebirth. In the main part of this study I will look for these themes in Bush’s speeches as published on the official website of the White House (www.whitehouse.gov, now transferred to archives available at http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov). Using a qualitative approach, I will describe in detail the use of those elements, and how it changed between the period right after the attacks of 9/11 and the launch of a public campaign against Iraq.

‘Interpretation notes’ handwritten and in German

Most of my ‘interpretation notes’ are on printed paper and scribbled with a color pen. Most of them are in German. I remember doing that while sitting at my desk in Princeton nearly 6 years ago. Even if I scanned these pages, that would not really help anyone. The only thing I can imagine is that if someone reads the book and my claims about a certain quote in a speech of G.W. Bush’s, they might at least want to have a look at that speech to check the context. The Bush speeches can all be found online in archives, but it’s a hassle to get to them.

All speeches & methodology

civilreligionWhat I put online now are:

  • a list of all speeches as pdf
  • all speeches analyzed as .zip
  • a short methodology description

If anyone has an idea what else should go on the dataverse to make the study more reproducible, please get in touch.

By the way, the book was reviewed in several journals before I made the qualitative data available. The reviewers never saw the replication data. I can’t believe that it only occurred to me now that I should have uploaded them years ago.

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