Karen Kellard is the Director of the Qualitative Research Unit at the Social Research Centre (owned by the Australian National University). Karen has worked in social and public policy research and evaluation for over 20 years, both in the UK and here in Australia. Her expertise is in evaluation, qualitative methods, and conducting research on sensitive topics with vulnerable research participants.
Conducting (qualitative) research during a pandemic – learnings from the field
Qualitative research is challenging at the best of times – it has complex logistics, requires a diverse skill set on the part of the researcher, and often results in messy and unwieldy data. Further it is sometimes viewed (as David Silverman noted) as the poor relation to quantitative research which is typically seen as far more transparent and rigorous.
However, qualitative research can give unique insights into social and public policy issues – indeed we could argue that there is no greater time for us to understand people’s views, behaviours and experiences through qualitative approaches.
This presentation will navigate the opportunities and potential pitfalls of conducting qualitative research during a pandemic, and how to ensure that our efforts result in research that is credible, meaningful and useful.