Changing Research Practice: Undertaking social science research in the context of Covid-19


‘COVID-19 is not just a medical pandemic; it is a social event that is disrupting our social order.’ (Teti, Schatz & Lienberg, 2020, 1)


This new and urgent project from NCRM and funded by the ESRC is looking at how Covid-19 is disrupting our research practice by challenging researchers who are conducting social research to re-consider their designs, re-think their ethics, broker different kinds of access, and adapt their research methods. Responding to the public health mandates, limitations on contact and access, and disruption to people’s lives researchers are moving swiftly and sharing accounts, advice and resources on social media and in research papers. Via this project NCRM researchers are playing a key role by engaging with and facilitating timely debates, synthesising useful evidence, and sharing solutions to the challenges. The NCRM portal will offer a response hub to support researchers developing and adapting methods in this challenging period with a view to lasting impact for research communities.


Lobe et al (2020) remind us that ‘Although the COVID-19 pandemic is considered a “100-year event,” using diverse methods of connecting with research participants is as old as the field itself.’ In navigating this mix of the unprecedented and the familiar the Changing Research Practice project team will:



Our ability to do social research has been restricted by Covid-19 but these steps will contribute to ensuring that social research continues in ways that are ethically and critically considered and informed by evidence.


Project team

Melanie Nind (PI)
Robert Meckin (Co-I):
Andy Coverdale: