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World Database of Happiness Example of a focused ‘Findings Archive’

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  • Ruut Veenhoven

Abstract

Social scientists are producing an ever growing stream of research findings, which is ever more difficult to oversee. As a result, capitalization on earlier investment declines and accumulation of knowledge stagnates. This situation calls for more research synthesis and interest in synthetic techniques is on the rise. To date attention has been focused on techniques for meta-analysis, with little attention paid to the preliminary step of bringing the available research findings together. What we need is 1) techniques for describing research findings in a comparable way, 2) a system for storing such descriptions in an easily accessible archive, 3) to which research findings can be added on a continuous basis. The World Database of Happiness is an example of such a tool. The archive is tailored to meet the requirements of assembling research findings on happiness; both distributional findings (how happy people are) and correlational findings (what things go together with happiness). With its focus on 'findings' the system differs from data-archives that store 'investigations' and from bibliographies that store 'publications'. As yet there is no established term to describe this tool for research synthesis. I call it a 'focused findings archive'. In this paper I describe how that works and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of this approach.

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Paper provided by German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD) in its series Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data with number 169.

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Length: 63
Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:rsw:rswwps:rswwps169

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Keywords: literature review; research synthesis; methodology; research archive; comparative analysis; happiness; life satisfaction; subjective wellbeing; quality of life;

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  1. Ruut Veenhoven, 1999. "Quality-of-Life in Individualistic Society," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 159-188, October.
  2. Ruut Veenhoven, 2000. "The Four Qualities of Life," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-39, March.
  3. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2005. "Does Marriage Make People Happy, Or Do Happy People Get Married?," IZA Discussion Papers 1811, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Ruut Veenhoven, 2010. "Life is Getting Better: Societal Evolution and Fit with Human Nature," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 97(1), pages 105-122, May.
  5. Ruut Veenhoven, 1991. "Is happiness relative?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 1-34, February.
  6. Veenhoven, Ruut, 2010. "Capability and happiness: Conceptual difference and reality links," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 344-350, June.
  7. R. Veenhoven, 2008. "Healthy happiness: effects of happiness on physical health and the consequences for preventive health care," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 449-469, September.
  8. Ruut Veenhoven, 1988. "The utility of happiness," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 333-354, August.
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