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Digital Society Initiative

Brown Bag Lunch "Research in times of Corona – challenges and creative solutions"

The Covid-19 pandemic had a major impact on empirical research at UZH. During the lockdown and because of the restrictions taken by the government, many researchers had to rethink their research design, or the research process needed to be paused/stopped. Especially affected has been research involving fieldwork and physical contact with (vulnerable) study participants.

The DSI Brown Bag Lunch on 8 July dealt with this topic.

Markus Christen, co-Managing Director of DSI, presented the results of the DSI Data Survey. He stated that especially the topic of recruiting study participants was one of the core challenges for the UZH researchers. It also became clear that qualitative and quantitative researchers are confronted with very different problems.

After the presentation, the UZH researchers Jamie Gloor, Kenan Hochuli, Alexandra Zoller and Johanna Jud shared their positive and negative experiences in dealing with the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Of particular interest were their creative solutions with which they met the challenges in the research environment, which had changed considerably in some cases.

In the concluding plenary discussion, all participants worked out together what conclusions were to be drawn for the researchers and for measures to be taken by the UZH.

All agreed that the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 did indeed cause problems, but at the same time opened up many interesting research aspects and new perspectives. In addition, a real quantum leap had taken place with regard to digitalization. 

The Brown Bag Lunch was welcomed because it enabled an exchange on the topic. The participants stated, that it would also be helpful to promote mutual understanding between qualitative and quantitative researchers, as well as understanding of the specific challenges of qualitative and quantitative research in relation to COVID-19.

Finally, it was mentioned that the UZH should facilitate access to specific resources, including the possibility to reach a specific target group for surveys more easily.
After the official part was completed, a lively discussion between the participants took place and contacts for collaborations were established.