Kate Hawkins, Jessica Amegee and Rosie Steege
The COVID-19 pandemic has unsettled the world as most countries were not prepared to face such a wide and disruptive event, with very little knowledge of how things would progress at the onset. As the pandemic continues to impact societies – organisations and communities are dealing with challenges on an unprecedented level. This exceptional situation shakes how organisations and communities are working together throughout the world.
Researchers and implementers, who are closely working with communities using participatory methods are facing a difficult time in maintaining their work and collaboration. The restrictive and protective measures put in place across most COVID-19 affected countries, from a partial to total lockdown, have an impact on their working methods. Because most of these methods require direct social interaction, physical distancing, quarantines, and the like raise questions about the continuity of operational or participatory research. Many have moved towards the use of online and other remote tools as a solution.
This pandemic can be seen as an opportunity to consider new ways to maintain links with communities, especially marginalised populations, who struggle to cope financially, mentally, or physically with this crisis and to comply with restrictive measures, even on a short term.
Online and remote research tools have been used for some time, but their importance is growing to mitigate challenges in operational and participatory research.
Many people wonder how to navigate their research in these troubled waters while guaranteeing digital safeguarding. Resources and ideas are spreading around several networks about how continue to undertake field work, collecting data in the best and most appropriate ways. From audio messaging, live stream apps to social media, some interesting resources are listed below to hopefully help you and others find some answers to many questions and instill creativity in research methods. We need to develop this type of research resilience as the COVID-19 pandemic is unlikely to be the last event to cause such large-scale disruptions.
Fieldwork in the Times of COVID-19: Doing Ethnography During a Pandemic
Disturbing the Aesthetics of Power: Why Covid-19 Is Not an “Event” for Fieldwork Social Scientists
Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka
Field research in lockdown: revisiting slow science in the time of COVID-19
Doing Fieldwork in a Pandemic
Crowdsourced document initiated by Deborah Lupton (@DALupton, firstname.lastname@example.org) on 17 March 2020
NB: Deborah also curates a community Facebook page ‘Innovative Social Research Methods’ which may be of interest for those wanting to think about new and creative ways of doing social research: Innovative Social Research Methods Public Group
Covid-19: Guide to community engagement at a distance
Short guide by BBC Media Action on behalf of Shongjog, the national platform for Communication with Communities in Bangladesh
Guidance for National Societies on safe and remote risk communication and community engagement during COVID-19
Tips for Engaging Communities during COVID-19 in Low-Resource Settings, Remotely and In-Person
Creative Research Methods, Dr Helen Kara
Part of the Qualitative Expertise at Southampton (QUEST) seminar series
COVID-19 & Virtual Fieldwork
Making design research work remotely
Violence against women and girls data collection during COVID-19
Phone surveys in developing countries need an abundance of caution
Subha Mani, Bidisha Barooah
Considerations for Doing Intimate Partner Violence Research in the Time of Coronavirus
Innovations for Poverty Action
Remote data collection on violence against women during COVID-19: A conversation with experts on ethics, measurement and research priorities
Remote data collection on violence against children during COVID-19: A conversation with experts on research priorities, measurement and ethics (Part 2)
Ethnographic methods for a time of lockdown and distancing
A Tweet thread by Julia Leser
Resources on online ethnography
A google doc curated by Philipp Budka, Heikki Wilenius, Rano Turaeva, Jordan Kraemer and Rachel Irwin
Sarah Pink: Digital Ethnographies
University of Copenhagen video
Phone and Skype interviews
Best practices for conducting phone surveys
Poverty Action Lab
12 Pro Tips for Digital Interviews and Interactions
Menzies Centre for Health Governance, School of Regulation and Global Governance, Australian National University
Phone Interviewing as a Means of Data Collection: Lessons Learned and Practical Recommendations
Forum: Qualitative Social Research
Skype as a Tool for Qualitative Research Interviews
Sociological Research Online
For PhD students
Virtual not Viral
Blog created to support PhD researchers in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic
We are also grateful to the Gender and COVID-19 Working Group for their sharing of expertise on the ethics of remote inquiry into gender based violence during the pandemic.