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Resources for Remote Research - Focus on South Asia: Field Work and Ethnography

This is a collection of resources useful for graduate students and faculty who are conducting research during a pandemic often without any physical access for field work or in-person interactions with research participants

Field Work

Field work has changed now that there is a pandemic, but in some ways there are benefits to it: distance can sometimes make people more relaxed during interactions. Take advantage of it, since traditional field work will probably be one of the last academic fields to return to normal after the pandemic.

Doing Field Work in a Pandemic: A resource for guidance in doing field-based research online during the pandemic. From Brandeis University.

Adapting Research Methodologies in the Covid-19 Pandemic: This document is a comprehensive resource of methodological resources and current discussions on how to adapt research methodologies and data collection methods to the conditions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Remote Work Survival Toolkit: Crowd-sourced toolkit on how to plan working from home during the pandemic.

Ethnography in Pandemic Times:This article describes how the pandemic is switching interactions to online, and how that affects ethnographic work.

Webinars on Field-Work under Covid Constraints: Webinars from Syracuse University on how to conduct fieldwork and other ethnographic work during the pandemic.

Field Work Principles During Covid

  • "Researchers should themselves comply with local social distancing measures, whether decrees or informal norms, and should take further measures implied by international standards. Methods should be carefully calibrated to fit local public health norms, and researchers should be aware of and responsive to changing policies and practices.
  • Institutions should defer to researchers in consultation with other scholars whose regional and/or disciplinary expertise can inform decisions about resuming or initiating field research. Such consultation is important, as individual scholars are likely to face incentives to resume or begin research sooner than may be ethically advisable." (From Resuming Field Research in Pandemic Times).

Ethnography Resources

Keep a Pandemic Journal, to track changes in your project and/or thinking.

Covid Resources for Ethnographers: Harvard list of Covid-19 Resources for Ethnographers.

Remote Research Methods to use during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Tips for ethnographers for remote work, from ethical concerns to phone and Skype interviews.

Doing Ethnography Remotely: Stanford interviews with six ethnographers who have conducted research remotely, exploring their techniques and methods.

Ethnography in the field methods & tools: This blog-post described some tools you can use for ethnographic work during a pandemic.


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