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Doing doctoral research in times of COVID-19: Débora Guimarães Masullo

04 Mar 2021 12:00 AM | Nadine Kiratli (Administrator)

"A two-sided coin: tough challenges in the last year, but valuable opportunities ahead"

The Covid19 pandemic has deeply affected our day-to-day activities. To many of us, it meant a life-changing event. Coping with an overload of housework and hygiene procedures while caring for a relative with a sudden severe illness that eventually passed away had a significant impact in the research progress. PhD colleagues experienced varied impact: those dealing with children’s homeschooling reported increased stress, others experienced depression due to isolation.

The impact on research was not only characterized by effects of psychological issues, but also by changes in the objects of study as firms adapting to the crisis naturally reduced their openness to interview and data access. Those researchers caught in the stage of fieldwork found themselves facing stronger restrictions to collect data. Some colleagues even pivoted the research topic to focus on the evolution and impacts of Covid19 in businesses.

Despite the challenges, we could find a lot of support from faculty and colleagues. In our case, the adaption to online teaching was fast, and the use of online meetings and classes were fundamental to motivate the cohort and contribute to the advancement of research and learning. Opportunities in online teaching supported our careers.

It is expected that some procedures for Covid19 prevention will be maintained throughout 2021 and a mix of in-person and online activities will be here to stay, given the advantages of remote activities such as attending webinars from anywhere in the world for a reduced cost. In addition, the intensification of online tools can help students and scholars to better communicate research impact and nurture multidisciplinary and international collaboration. In this sense, academic conferences and seminars can be a structural support to PhD students and new ways of online networking within academia could be developed to further expand opportunities for co-authorship and development for early career researchers.


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