Crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, disasters, or violent conflict present numerous challenges for researchers. Faced with disruption, obstacles, and even danger to their own lives, researchers in times of crisis must adapt or redesign existing research methods in order to continue their work effectively.
Including contributions on qualitative and digital research from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia, and the Americas, this volume explores the creative and thoughtful ways in which researchers have adapted methods and rethought relationships in response to challenges arising from crises. Their collective reflections, strategies, and practices highlight the importance of responsive, ethical, and creative research design and the need to develop methods for fostering mutual, reflexive, and healthy relationships in times of crisis.
As researchers have begun to adapt to the continuing presence of COVID-19, they have also begun to reflect more deeply on fundamental research issues and assumptions. Researchers around the world have responded in diverse, thoughtful and creative ways – from adapting data collection methods to fostering researcher and community resilience, while also attending to often urgent needs for care.
This book, part of a series of three Rapid Responses, connects themes of care and resilience, addressing their common concern with wellbeing. It has three parts: addressing researchers’ wellbeing, considering participants’ wellbeing, and exploring care and resilience as a shared and mutually entangled concern.
The other two books focus on Response and Reassessment, and Creativity and Ethics. Together they help academic, applied and practitioner-researchers worldwide adapt to the new challenges COVID-19 brings.
As researchers continue to adapt, conduct and design their research in the presence of COVID-19, new opportunities to connect research creativity and ethics have opened up. Researchers around the world have responded in diverse, thoughtful and creative ways–adapting data collection methods, fostering researcher and community resilience, and exploring creative research methods.
This book, part of a series of three Rapid Responses, explores dimensions of creativity and ethics, highlighting their connectedness. It has three parts: the first covers creative approaches to researching. The second considers concerns around research ethics and ethics more generally, and the final part addresses different ways of approaching creativity and ethics through collaboration and co-creation.
The other two books focus on Response and Reassessment, and Care and Resilience. Together they help academic, applied and practitioner-researchers worldwide adapt to the new challenges COVID-19 brings.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit researchers’ plans, discussion swiftly turned to adapting research methods for a locked-down world. The ‘big three’ methods – questionnaires, interviews and focus groups – can only be used in a few of the same ways as before the pandemic.
Researchers around the world have responded in diverse, thoughtful and creative ways – from adapting their data collection methods, to fostering researcher resilience and rethinking researcher-researched relationships.
This book, part of a series of three Rapid Responses, showcases new methods and emerging approaches. Focusing on Response and Reassessment, it has three parts: the first looks at the turn to digital methods; the second reviews methods in hand and the final part reassesses different needs and capabilities.
The other two books focus on Care and Resilience, and Creativity and Ethics. Together they help academic, applied and practitioner-researchers worldwide adapt to the new challenges COVID-19 brings.
This contribution reflects critically on what it means to ‘learn’ from the Global South. The starting point is why the ‘Global North’ appears to have learnt so little about pandemic response from the ‘Global South’, despite relevant knowledge being in plain sight. The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to learn because it disrupts the labels dividing different ‘worlds’ of development and places a magnifying glass on critical issues of local and global equity and justice. As COVID-19 is a novel disease, it is unsurprising that not enough is known about it. Yet a surprising ignorance has emerged in its wake about how governments should respond, and who is most vulnerable and likely to suffer or die. This ignorance about differential impacts and vulnerabilities cannot exactly be said to be an absence of knowledge. Rather, it is a problem of un-knowing that maps interestingly onto central debates in critical development studies about the proper focal objects, subjects and purposes (the whats, the whos and the whys) of ‘development’.
How and why have issues of local and global inequity and injustice become actively (rather than just accidentally) under-emphasized and ignored? Cognitive frames that present ‘development’ as a question of ‘Northern’ knowledge and competence versus ‘Southern’ lack of knowledge or competence are deeply complicit in the active production of global ignorance, with serious effects.
The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has surfaced a renewed appreciation of the value of public health systems as national and global public goods.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses evolving dilemmas of disease, death, disability and economic and sociopolitical inequalities and injustices, as the virus continues to spread and variants evolve. This contribution reflects on the development of disinformational responses by reactionary populist political forces in Brazil, with serious implications for the Brazilian national health system – the Sistema Único de Saúde – and global public health. Strategic disinformation and misinformation have affected democratic systems globally, including the two largest democracies in the Global South. Disinformation, including official disinformation promoting scientifically unproven ‘early treatment’, has significantly impacted public discourse and health behaviours in the face of the pandemic. Sudden onset or ‘fast’ crises like the COVID-19 pandemic have roots in, and connections to, ‘slower’, connected crises of authoritarian, extractivist, necropolitical (the use of power to dictate how some people may live and some die) and even genocidal forms of ‘development’ that prioritize prevailing, inequitable and unsustainable economic arrangements at the expense of many people’s lives, health and prospects. Current trends of official disinformation negatively impact public health systems, personnel and capacities to prevent and minimize harm while deepening harmful, unequal and disequalizing effects. This contribution argues that development and global health ethics warrant urgent and direct attention to survival, countering democratic disinformation and necropolitics.
Researchers, like everyone else on planet Earth, had no choice but to respond to the pandemic. Yet, again like everyone else, researchers had a lot of choice about how to respond. All three of the volumes in this series exemplify researchers at their best: reassessing their methods and approaches, with care for others and themselves, creatively and ethically. The separation of the volumes into different topics is to some extent an artificial device to support discussion and thought around these complex issues. Although the chapters you just read have been placed in this volume because they say more about response and reassessment than about ethics, creativity, resilience or care, the latter elements also run through these accounts.
We received more submissions about going digital – that is, moving in-person and in-place research online – than about any other sub-topic in this series. A sizeable number of these submissions were about switching from face-to-face interviewing to doing interviews online. This has already been covered in some detail in the methods literature: Hanna (2012) and Salmons (2015) are seminal contributors; there are many others. We didn’t want to repeat that here, and we were fortunate also to have submissions exploring other aspects of going digital. Helena Vicente and her colleagues in the European Union needed to move planned face-to-face research encounters online, but at a rather different scale from interviews: they worked with large groups of students and experts forming science camps in six European countries, and devised a novel method of taking this work online.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in early 2020, researchers had to react. Discussions of research methods and planning for ongoing and near-future research swiftly turned to adapting research methods for a locked-down world. As the pandemic response and measures to control its spread continued into the medium and longer term, it became apparent that many research methods, especially the ‘big three’ most commonly used methods of questionnaires, interviews and focus groups, could hardly be conducted in the same ways as they had been before the pandemic, and therefore had to be adapted and rethought. The pandemic presented researchers with many challenges – and some opportunities. These included opportunities to reassess the utility of more conventional methods in unusual circumstances, and to try out less familiar methods that could meet both existing and new research needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 is only one of a number of possible global emergencies that may occur due to the outbreak of an infectious pathogen like the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Indeed, the global pandemic preparedness body warned in September 2019 that there was ‘a very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen killing 50 to 80 million people and wiping out nearly 5% of the world’s economy’ (Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, 2019, 6). ‘Global’ emergencies may also arise due to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanic eruptions, or human-caused disasters such as major industrial accidents, conflicts and mass displacements of people, with effects that are severe and extensive and carry transboundary implications.