The Open UniversitySkip to content

The qualitative longitudinal case history: practical, methodological and ethical reflections

Thomson, Rachel (2007). The qualitative longitudinal case history: practical, methodological and ethical reflections. Social Policy and Society, 6(4) pp. 571–582.

Full text available as:
PDF (Not Set) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (95kB)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This paper describes the development of ‘case histories’ from a qualitative longitudinal data set that followed 100 young people's transitions to adulthood over a ten year period. The paper describes two stages in the analytic process: first, the forging of a case history from a longitudinal archive and second, bringing case histories into conversation with each other. The paper emphasises two aspects of a qualitative longitudinal data set: the longitudinal dimension that privileges the individual case, and the cross sectional dimension that privileges the social and the spatial context. It is argued that both aspects should always be kept in play in analysis. The paper concludes by reflecting on the ethical and practical challenges associated with the case history approach, heightened by the growing demand to archive and share qualitative longitudinal data sets.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 1474-7464
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 11702
Depositing User: Sandra Riekie
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2008 05:57
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2020 09:50
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU