TEAM Colombia TEAM Turkey TEAM Norway TEAM Malaysia TEAM Mexico TEAM Korea TEAM Italy InterPARES 3 TEAM China TEAM Catalonia TEAM Canada TEAM Brazil TEAM Africa

Case Study Methodology

The overall approach is guided by action research methodology: a set of disciplined, material practices that involve collaborative dialogue, participatory decision making, inclusive democratic deliberation, and the maximal participation and representation of all relevant parties. Action research may take the form of ethnographic inquiry or prototype development.

The steps of the case study research are:

  • Identifying the Problem -- Initially, each test-bed partner will identify a body of digital material for which a preservation plan has to be developed, be it already in the custody of the partner or not. Alternatively, the partner identifies a policy need, or a system to be designed and implemented.

  • Data Collection -- Using archival methods, data will be collected about the context and limitations of each test-bed. Subsequently, using also interviews, diplomatics, modelling, and text analyses, data will be collected either about the specific body of material, its documentary forms, technological constraints, functional or cultural meaning, etc., or about a system requirement or policy needs and constraints.

  • First Iterations: Testing Different Solutions in Different Contexts -- All TEAM members (co-investigators, collaborators, test-bed and resource partners, students) will then reflect on the data collected for each case study and collectively articulate several possible solutions from which individual plans of action will emerge and be tested. These plans of action will include strategy, protocols, functional requirements, procedures, and expected outcome, as needed. The plans will be implemented and tested and test results will include performance assessment of the plans against benchmarks and baselines established in extant research.

  • Comparison of First Iterations -- The results of the test will be shared among all TEAM researchers and analyzed. An assessment of these results will then allow us to reflect on each action, and refine our respective plans of action.

  • Second Iteration: Refining Solutions for Particular Contexts -- After this assessment, the process will begin another cycle. This second iteration will account for anomalies in the test results, and benefit from the insight gained from a comparison across contexts. In so doing, it will refine our plans and performance measures. The second iteration will continue with small mini-iterations until a definitive plan of action is agreed upon for each context, implemented and tested again.

  • Comparisons of Second Iterations -- The data will be compared among cohorts –the partner organizations of the same type (e.g., city archives, university archives, communities archives) –to establish what are the critical factors that determine the most appropriate solution for these contexts and whether they are linked to documentary forms, technology, organizational culture or function, or other environmental elements. This comparison will allow us to make statements of a general type. Furthermore, once a year, the results will be compared with parallel research conducted by the other TEAMs and its results. This comparison of results will not happen in a vacuum because all international partners will share the same Web site and maintain ongoing communication.

  • Reflection, Analysis, and Synthesis -- Throughout the research, the co-investigators and collaborators will reflect on issues and processes and make explicit their assumptions and biases, thereby giving rise to theoretical considerations.


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