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Researching ethically at a time of global crisis: lessons and challenges

Our bi-monthly webinar series started in June 2020, and explores the practical, ethical, and methodological challenges of researching during the pandemic. We want to be responsive to what the research community want from our webinars, so do let us know what you'd like us to be covering! After our first webinar, a focus on doing participatory methods was the most popular choice for webinar two (see below). Do sign up to our mailing list to hear about our future blogs and webinars, and to be part of the conversation - thank you!

Next webinar

Interviewing at a distance: reflections on navigating practical, emotional, and methodological challenges

Tuesday 3 rd November 2020
11:00 – 12:30 GMT

Over the past six months, qualitative researchers have had little choice but to try to change and adapt our usual methods; switching new and existing research projects to often completely different ways of working. This is particularly relevant when we consider how best to conduct and manage qualitative research on poverty during the time of COVID-19.

Join us in this webinar to think through navigating the practical, emotional, and methodological challenges of trying to undertake qualitative research on poverty during COVID-19, focusing especially on whether or not a shift to remote methods of interviewing is always the best way forward.

We will hear from:

  • Anna Tarrant, Linzi Ladlow and Laura Way (University of Lincoln) discuss the process of moving to online methods in the Following Young Fathers Further study. In particular, they reflect on conducting interviews via phone call and Zoom, a and share reflections about how young fathers found the process.

  • David Robertshaw (University of Leeds) will consider the emotional and ethical challenges of remote interviewing in the context of the pandemic for the Welfare at a (Social) Distance project, and how these are being navigated.

  • Aimi King (University of Huddersfield) will reflect on carrying out her PhD research on the Christian ethos in parent and toddler groups in churches during the pandemic, and why she has preferred to stick with a face to face approach, despite the pandemic.

Presentations will be kept short to allow time for discussion.

The webinar will be chaired by Professor Jane Millar, University of Bath, who is Principal Investigator on the ‘Couples balancing work, money and care: exploring the shifting landscape under Universal Credit’ project, which has also shifted to virtual interviews over recent months.

To join this webinar, please click here

Is it possible to do participatory research in the pandemic?

Thursday 3rd September 2020

Now, more than ever, it’s important that those who are experiencing the unequal impact of COVID-19 are able to share their expertise and experiences directly with social security and related policy makers. In this context, participatory research is vital. But this context also makes participatory research difficult and creates new challenges: how do participatory workshops operate in online spaces; and how are inclusive and safe spaces created for collaboration?

  • Tracey Herrington (Thrive Teesside and Poverty2Solutions) reflects upon what participatory research should actually look like, drawing on her experience of grassroots activism and lived experience.

  • Shahid Islam (Bradford Institute for Health Research) discusses some of the challenges of doing participatory work in the pandemic, and how he is navigating these in his own work.

  • Finally, Maddy Power and Ruth Patrick reflect upon the methodological approach underpinning the participatory element of the Covid Realities project, which involves work with parents and carers living on a low income to share their everyday experiences of the pandemic.

    The webinar was chaired by Professor Maggie O’Neill, Professor in Sociology at University College Cork.

Researching Poverty Ethically at a Time of Global Crisis: Lessons and challenges

Thursday 11th June 2020

Discussing some key learnings and challenges around how we can conduct research on poverty ethically at a time of global crisis, bringing together perspectives from academia, charitable organisations and from the frontline.

Following a two-year in-depth inquiry run by an international working group, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ report ‘Research in global health emergencies: ethical issues’ was published in January 2020, a matter of weeks before we began to see the impact of COVID-19 in the UK. The report – with prescient timeliness – offers an ethical compass and valuable reflections for those of us who are now attempting to carry out research that is suitable and sensitive to these new times.

Co-author of the report, Katharine Wright, Assistant Director for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, reflects on lessons from this project in terms of an ‘ethical compass’ to help guide policy approaches, which can be used to reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic in a UK setting. Professor Lisa Scullion, University of Salford, draws on her experiences of setting up a new UKRI funded project on Welfare at a (social) distance, and think through the ethical issues involved in light of COVID-19. Finally, Azmina Siddique, Policy and Research Manager, The Children’s Society, discusses new evidence from ongoing practice in a rapidly changing time, thinking through how the voluntary sector is seeking to deliver impactful evidence to inform policy responses at a time of rapid change. Presentations will be kept short to allow time for discussion.

The webinar was chaired by Professor Karen Rowlingson, University of Birmingham, Chair of the Social Policy Association.

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