Archival Data Sets Should not be a Secondary (or Even Last) Choice in Micro-Organizational Research

Stacey R. Kessler, Kennesaw State University
Mindy K. Shoss, University of Central Florida


Despite ample access to large, archival datasets, the micro-organizational sciences field seem to consistently cast these datasets aside in favor of primary datasets collected by independent researchers. In the current GoMusing, we argue that these archival datasets should not be a secondary (or even last) choice for the micro-organizational sciences. In fact, large archival datasets can enable researchers to (a) investigate phenomena of interest across generalizable samples, (b) incorporate multiple levels of context into research, and (c) take advantage of several additional methodological benefits. In the hopes of spurring a paradigm shift in the micro-organizational sciences, we begin our article by discussing problems with the standard approach to data collection (i.e., independent researchers collecting their own datasets). We then discuss how archival datasets can remedy many of these issues and advance the range of research questions the field is able to answerer. We conclude by providing a step-by-step process for incorporating these archival datasets into our literature and provide insights into addressing common challenges. We hope this GoMusing will serve as a call to action for researchers and editorial teams alike to move our research forward though a greater usage of large archival datasets.