How we understand and define qualitative data is changing, with implications not only for the techniques of data analysis, but also how data are collected. New devices, technologies and online spaces open up new ways for researchers to approach and collect images, moving images, text and talk. The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Collection systematically explores the approaches, techniques, debates and new frontiers for creating, collecting and producing qualitative data. Bringing together contributions from internationally leading scholars in the field, the handbook offers a state-of-the-art look at key themes across six thematic parts: Part I Charting the Routes Part II Concepts, Contexts, Basics Part III Types of Data and How to Collect Them Part IV Digital and Internet Data Part V Triangulation and Mixed Methods Part VI Collecting Data in Specific Populations

Troubling the Concept of Data in Qualitative Digital Research

Annette N. Markham


In late 2016, the unanticipated results of the US presidential election sent a shock wave through the world, including the digital data science community. All the election polls predicted that Hillary Clinton would win. All of them turned out to be wrong. Even the republican candidate did not expect to win, based on the data analytics. It seemed a failure of data.1

This chapter focuses on the concept of data to clarify how it operates on our research sensibilities. By deconstructing the concept, we can better situate it, consider whether or not we should use the term at all, or be more clear in our definitions of what ...

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