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Unlocking Lockdown: Doing Fieldwork in a Pandemic

Unlocking Lockdown: Doing Fieldwork in a Pandemic

By Culture, Politics and Global Justice
The suddenness of Covid-19 means that those currently undertaking fieldwork or planning to begin it in the near future had little time to prepare for lockdown measures and what they meant for their research. The scale of the disruption means that fieldwork as it is traditionally conceived simply cannot take place for the foreseeable future.

In Unlocking Lockdown researchers from all career stages offer personal narratives about their experience of grappling with these challenges, as well as the insights and ideas they've generated along the way.
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Yvonne Daly and Aimée Muirhead on moving to remote interviewing as opposed to in-person focus groups
In our fifth episode Yvonne Daly and Aimée Muirhead reflect on adapting their research on the right to silence in police interviews to the strange circumstances in which they suddenly found themselves. They made the decision to move from in person focus groups to online interviews, using the telephone rather than video conferencing. These were easier to schedule, less of a burden for participants and more technically reliable. However they came with a number of difficulties which necessitate methodological reflection.
November 09, 2020
Aizuddin Mohamed Anuar on the experience of fieldwork during a pandemic
In our fourth episode Aizuddin Mohamed Anuar reflects on the conflicted experience of disrupted fieldwork. Can we sustain a life of the mind during lockdown? How does this relate to the foreclosed field? Under these conditions there is a power in writing but also a necessity to pause, helping us mourn the loss of a research project that can never be the same.
September 23, 2020
Ash Watson on using Zoom to conduct home visits
In our third episode Ash Watson reflects on adapting an ethnographic research project once restrictions meant that home visits were no longer possible. These home visits are now conducted virtually, using Zoom, revolving around a virtual tour of their home, exploring the material, affective and sensory properties which shape their experience of these spaces. There are many constraints involved in this transition but also new forms of connection between which are opened up. 
September 05, 2020
Simone Eringfeld on Podcasting During a Pandemic
In our second episode Simone Eringfeld talks about her experience of the disorientating disruption of education and the impossibility of conducting her planned fieldwork. She launched Cambridge Quaranchats in April as a means of engaging with the many questions raised by the crisis and develop a community around responses to them. It has become an innovative methodological hybrid project which combines public engagement with private interviews. You can listen to it online here:
July 01, 2020
Pallawi Sinha on Human Connection and Qualitative Research
In our first episode Pallawi Sinha reflects on the unparalleled situation in which we find ourselves and what it means for restarting research. Could we redefine it for a future that will be forever changed? What's the role of social science at a time of global emergency? How can we engage with people beyond the normative frameworks of being human which were established before the pandemic? How can we sustain the human connection on which qualitative research depends in a time of social distancing? 
June 10, 2020