In-person research during COVID-19: Considerations and a call to action

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High-quality research is a core input for policies and programs that seek to improve public health and social development. In the context of a pandemic, however, in-person data collection could spread coronavirus. Researchers across disciplines must safely and effectively balance the need for primary data while protecting participants, staff, and the communities in which they work. As the world learns how to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, research institutions across the globe are creating their own guidelines and approaches to resuming in-person activities as global governing bodies and governments lag behind in providing guidance. As the COVID-19 pandemic shapeshifts, the question of whether, where, and how to resume in-person data collection has generated collective action among public health experts and social scientists. The authors propose key principles and practical steps that researchers should consider when weighing the prospect of returning to in-person data collection. The recommendations arise from the Population Council-convened webinar, "Resuming In-Person Data Collection during COVID-19," that brought together scientists, ethicists, and research implementers who are pioneering adaptations across disciplines to in-person research activities during the pandemic.




Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic