Saturday, July 24, 2010

Qualitative Life Histories of Ireland in the 20th Century

The life history and social change project in NUI Maynooth has an archive page here. Data is in preparation for archiving. Some clips are available now on the site as samples. A description is below. The sound clips are really great - broken down into categories such as school, work, food and family. There are some parallels with this work and projects that are ongoing here in the Institute, in particular the SHARELIFE study which is currently completing fieldwork on a sample of approximately 1,200 adults over the age of 50 examining quantitative life histories in the second round of a major European study that Ireland are part of. Also, we are undergoing extensive research to examine the effect of early conditions on later health (a working paper version of one of our completed projects is available here ).

"In this project qualitative interviews were conducted with a large sample of Irish people from three key birth cohorts: 1929-1934; 1949-1954 and 1969-1974. These cohorts enabled us to interview people reaching adulthood in the crucial decades of the 1950s (an era of socio-economic decline), the 1970s (an era of initial "modernisation") and the 1990s (the "Celtic Tiger" boom). The interviews included both a qualitative, ethnographic component, in which the respondent framed the life history according to the events, circumstances and interpretations that are significant to him or her, and a systematic component (life history calendars and network schedules) that will provide comparable data across cases. The interviewees were selected from a nationally representative sample of people interviewed from 1994-2001 for the Irish part of the European Community Household Panel Survey."

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