Research and Covid-19
Guidance for undertaking empirical fieldwork on campus during Covid-19
All fieldwork undertaken at this time is subject to current public health guidance and university policy.
Before seeking to undertake any empirical ‘in person’ data collection on campus during the Covid-19 pandemic, consider if you really need to collect data in face-to-face format or whether it is feasible to use distanced or virtual data collection methods instead.
If there is no meaningful alternative to collecting empirical data in physical settings on campus, you must adhere to the most up-to-date guidance by QUB related to risk and safety in terms of Covid-19. Please consult the documents below before you plan your fieldwork and complete a risk assessment.
QUB Principles for Human Participant Research during COVID-19 Pandemic
QUB Information and Guidance Related to Fieldwork
Additional documents and guidelines are available via the QUB Estates website.
The above policy and guidance documents regulate the use of campus space for teaching, learning and research.
When completing your risk assessment, include measures to protect your own health, the specific space, its users; weighing up risks and benefits, and all the ways in which you mitigate risk of harm for participants, yourself and third parties.
You should carefully study the available resources, complete a risk assessment and engage in discussion with your supervisor before considering which action to take. Your approaches to mitigate such risks should be detailed fully within the appropriate responses to your Ethics application form. A completed risk assessment should be attached to the application. Similarly, if you seek to undertake ‘in person’ data collection on other campus spaces, you must adhere to that institution’s guidelines, and where required, confirm permission for access with a person in designated authority.
Be sure to keep up-to-date with COVID-19 guidance during your data collection period. Where substantial amendments are made to the originally approved data collection mode, remember to submit a completed amendment form to the SREC before you embark on data collection. You can pre-empt this in your application, indicating what alternatives you will employ where anticipated changes in regulations come into effect.
- Notes for supervisors
- Only when it is considered safe, and within remits of up-to-date public health advice and institutional regulations, should ‘in person’ data collection on campus occur. Assess for yourself or, if supervising students undertaking such work, how they intend to protect themselves and their participants in cases where ‘in person’ data collection is necessary.
- Ensure you and your students consult and follow the relevant guidance available on the Sharepoint site about online safety and the minimum information required in Participant Information Sheets around data protection, privacy policies and online platforms.
- Ensure you and your students follow the steps outlined in the documentation on QUBs Principles for Human Participant Research during COVID-19 Pandemic. If required, ensure they appropriate permission to access the spaces in light of current guidance of that institution.
- Your students must complete a risk assessment and it is your responsibility to make sure that this is done prior to ‘in person’ data collection encounters. The risk assessment should be included in the attachment section of their thesis at submission stage alongside evidence of ethical approval.