BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
This article explores challenges and opportunities associated with sharing qualitative data in engineering education research. This exploration is theoretically informed by an existing framework of interpretive research quality with a focus on the concept of Communicative Validation. Drawing on practice anecdotes from the authors’ work, the article examines which aspects of the social reality under investigation and what details of the contextual research process would need to be understood by a researcher attempting a secondary analysis. To foster a thoughtful discussion in the community, we propose to conceptualize data sharing as the tentative re-use of data analogous to the concept of the tentative transfer of interpretive research findings. We contend that such a tentative re-use of data would need to be supported by communicating sufficiently detailed “thick metadata” to safeguard the continuity and robustness of the theoretical, methodological, and value commitments made in the original study.