DOING FIELDWORK IN A PANDEMIC
Crowdsourced document initiated by Deborah Lupton (@DALupton, firstname.lastname@example.org) on 17 March 2020. Please do add comments and resources below as appropriate
Isolation measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 means that social researchers who conduct face-to-face fieldwork (interviews, focus groups, participant observation, ethnographies etc) are now faced with the challenge of either delaying or re-inventing their methods so that they can continue their research until these measures are relaxed.
This crowdsourced document provides a space for people to share their methods for doing fieldwork in a pandemic - specifically, ideas for avoiding in-person interactions by using mediated forms that will achieve similar ends.
Social research has been conducted online for many years, of course. PlThere are many examples of using online survey tools or doing content analyses or ethnographies using existing online interactions as research materials. Interviews have been conducted by phone or Skype for a long time. This document was initially directed at ways for how to turn fieldwork that was initially planned as using face-to-face methods into a more ‘hands-off’ mode. However, people have added useful material about ‘born digital’ research (content already generated on the internet by online interactions), which provides an alternative source of social research materials if researchers decide to go down that path.
Please add your ideas below - and do share useful references if available.
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