How you could help researchers understand more about living through coronavirus

Has living with isolation and social distancing inspired you to put pen to paper? If so, you could be part of an unique social research project examining how society lives through a pandemic.

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Swansea University reports Dr Michael Ward, a Senior Lecturer in Public Health, Policy and Social Sciences at the university, is looking to recruit volunteers of all ages to take part in the CoronaDiaries project, the first social science study into the current crisis, which aims to study how we document our experiences during the coronavirus pandemic.

He said “As medical and epidemiological knowledge is being produced, there is also an urgent need to use a social science lens in the response to Covid-19.

“I want to maximise the wealth of experiences that can emerge from both anthropological and sociological analysis of our different responses to the pandemic.

“These diaries will act as a recording of what we are going through for future generations and also as a way to share pain and experiences with others.”

He said as lockdown continues new modes of behaviour are being created and different social situations are constantly coming into existence, such as Zoom work meetings and virtual coffee mornings via party apps.

Michael said “People are responding in multiple ways. New interests, new interactions, a different social life is taking shape in both the real and virtual worlds.”

He now wants to hear from anyone who is willing to take part in “CoronaDiaries: Documenting the everyday lived experiences of a global pandemic” and share their experiences over the coming months.

Each person’s CoronaDiary can take whatever form of expression they like but could include:

  • Handwritten notebooks
  • Word processed diaries
  • Video diaries and digital recordings
  • Reflective pieces
  • Scholarly papers
  • Blogs/wikis/vlogs
  • Social media posts
  • Postcards
  • Artwork, poems, songs or other creative expressions

Michael’s hoping to secure funding to produce a digital archive of the contributions so they can be used to help influence the strategy and implementation of the coronavirus response and help inform for future outbreaks.

The project is based in part on the work of Mass Observation before, during and after the Second World War, in which volunteers recorded their experiences.

Michael said there is no set length of time needed to participate in the project. Recordings could take place on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly bases, or as circumstances allow.

Entries would be submitted to him by the end of each month by email, secure dropbox or post. All documents will be stored securely in password protected files and written documents will be anonymised to protect participants.

If you would like to take part please contact Dr Michael Ward by email, on Twitter or by calling 07890 874188.

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