Research During the Pandemic


This page gathers research methods resources that may be helpful as our community works remotely and online during the current pandemic.  It is aimed at University of Edinburgh researchers and some of the resources listed require EASE authentication for access.  Some of the links are to crowd-sourced documents that have been complied quickly in response to changing circumstances: please be aware that we have not reviewed or quality-checked these documents.   

In the summer of 2021, we held a series of workshops which resulted in the publication of research adaptation guidance for local researchers, including ethical guidance for social media research and case studies  

More support for researchers is available via the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences' Support for Research during Covid Hub (SERCH)

Please also see our Training page for information about online skills and methods courses, and our Teaching during the Pandemic page for resources to help colleagues adjusting to remote and hybrid pedagogies.


General Resources and Guidance

Resetting Your Research Agenda, Christine Tulley, Inside Higher Ed

Managing Research Risks – riding the wave of #phdpandemic by Pat Thomson

The Best Laid Plans… Qualitative Research Design During COVID-19 Sharon M. Ravitch, Social Science Space

Carrying out qualitative research under lockdown – Practical and ethical considerations, Adam Jowett, LSE

Research methods to consider in a pandemic by Helen Kara

Good Practice in Research: Internet-Mediated Research (UK Research Integrity Office)

Covid-19 Perspectives Research on COVID-19 from across the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh

International Perspectives on Covid-19 from the Institute of Development Studies

Switching to teaching, learning and researching online - what does it mean for research methods? Resources and Guidance from the National Centre for Research Methods

Resources for doing qualitative research during a pandemic (McGill)

CDCS Training pages list online training resources in digital methods and for various tools

The CDCS Digital Social Science cluster is gathering examples of the ways in which social science projects use digital methods.

Digital Research Services from the University's Information Services, including data services and research computing

SPS Research Training Centre: Research Methods Resources (UoE only - accessed through Learn)  

Other resources available to CAHSS researchers


CDCS Research Adaptation Guidance



Introduction to Digital Anthropology 

Archival Research

A Time for Research Distancing: guidance on gathering data digitally and switching from researching in physical archives to online research.

Gale have made available a huge range of their primary source databases to the library on a trial basis until 30th June 2020, this covers hundreds of years of world history and a wide number of subject areas. Access is via the E-resources trials page (click here for an introductory blog post). 


Data Collection

Collecting Qualitative Data: A Practical Guide to Textual, Media and Virtual Techniques, ed. Braun, V. et al 


Digital Humanities

The Digital Humanities Literacy Guidebook(CMU): survey of DH methods and pointers to other resources. 

The Programming Historian provides high quality, peer-reviewed digital humanities tutorials by scholars for scholars (not just historians), and many of the tutorials are in multiple languages.

Routledge's Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities series  multidisciplinary, available online via UoE library soon. 



Resources on Online Ethnography (crowd-sourced document)

How to conduct an ethnography during social isolation video by Daniel Miller

See also: Digital ethnography: Using online spaces to explore participants' behaviours Hjorth, L., Horst, H., Galloway, A., & Bell, G. (Eds.). (2017). The Routledge companion to digital ethnography. Taylor & Francis.



Doing fieldwork in a pandemic Lupton, D. (editor) (2020) (crowd-sourced document)


Network analysis

University of Edinburgh researchers have provided videos introducing network analysis as a method:

Introduction to Social Network Analysis

Introduction to Epistemic Network Analysis



Online discussions / interviews

Digital platforms like Teams, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, Facebook can be used to conduct interviews and focus groups/discussions. WhatsApp has been especially useful for researchers working in the global south, due to its simplicity, wide use, and efficiency.  Microsoft Teams and Skype are available to UoE researchers, can be used with external interviewees, and both have recording options.

Nvivo can be used to analyse results based on fieldwork interviews.

The NCRM wayfinder guide to adapting interview practices for Covid-19.(NCRM. Nind, Melanie and Meckin, Robert and Coverdale, Andy (2021))

Advice on remote oral history interviewing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Phone Interviewing as a Means of Data Collection:Lessons Learned and Practical Recommendations (Burke, L. & Miller, M. Forum: Qualitative Social Research)

STEER: Factors to Consider When Designing Online Focus Groups Using Audiovisual Technology in Health Research (Daniels, N et al. International Journal of Qualitative Methods)


Online experiments and data collection

Guidance on running experiments online and recruiting participants online by Neil Bramley

Guidance on online data collection by James Donaldson

Training in jsPsych for developing online tasks developed by Alisdair Tullo

For online recruitment of adult participants from around the UK/world for experiments and surveys: Prolific or Amazon's Mechanical Turk   

Testable allows coding-free online behavioural experiment building. Set up controlled experiments with precisely timed presentations of stimuli in the browser without programming.

Build online experiments with custom tasks in the browser using javascript/html/css with jsPsych (task flow/trial & block randomisation, storing data) or p5.js (developing more interactive tasks/games).

The Physiological Society provides professional recommendations related to returning to human testing in labs.

AsPredicted allows preregistrations.

For staff and students in Sport, PE & Health Sciences, there is a sharepoint site available (EASE login required) which provides guidance. 


Quantitative Data Analysis

Examples of commonly used statistical software are SPSSStataR

Social media research

Facepager was made for fetching public available data from YouTube, Twitter and other websites on the basis of APIs and webscraping.

TAGS is a simple spreadsheet-based tool to enable the collection of twitter data. 





There is a huge range of data available to researchers at the University of Edinburgh.  Our data page lists key resources. 

Humanities researchers may find the library's subject guides of value in identifying collections of interest, or may wish to explore the many cultural heritage collections online (Mia Ridge of the British Library provides a search portal in a useful blog post), and make use of online archives. This post gives a sense of the kinds of data held by, for example, the Internet Archive.   



For regional studies, newspapers are often available at online. For example, colleagues working in South Asia have found The Scroll India useful, as well as indigenous newspapers such as The Morung Express. There may also be specialised archives relevant to specific fields, such as for example, The Naga Database  and  Digital Himalaya.

For sources of secondary quantitative data for social sciences, try Open ICPSR. There are also key social science data sets listed in the SPS Research Training Centre: Research Methods Resources (UoE only, access via Learn).