Combining Register Data and Life History Interviews in Life Course Studies: Insights from the Stockholm Life Course Project

26 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2012

See all articles by Christoffer Carlsson

Christoffer Carlsson

Stockholm University

Amber L. Beckley

Stockholm University, Department of Criminology

Date Written: November 10, 2012

Abstract

Register data and life history interviews are both important tools for understanding the life course. By combining these two sources of data, researchers may be able to broaden their life course studies. Mixing methods, however, faces both practical and theoretical challenges and is seldom done. In this paper we argue that combining register data and life history interviews can be beneficial because the data can be mutually informative and theories can be developed. Three useful ways to mix data collection are complementarity, initiation, and expansion. This essay uses data from the Stockholm Life Course Project to demonstrate these benefits. The example also shows how even minimal amounts of these two data can be useful. Yet, significant challenges remain with the interpretation of the results. While we urge researchers to employ mixed methods, we also address their limitations.

Keywords: life course, methods, register data, life history interviews, crime

Suggested Citation

Carlsson, Christoffer and Beckley, Amber L., Combining Register Data and Life History Interviews in Life Course Studies: Insights from the Stockholm Life Course Project (November 10, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2178581 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2178581

Christoffer Carlsson (Contact Author)

Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

Amber L. Beckley

Stockholm University, Department of Criminology ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

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