Managing the elephant in the room: responding to COVID-19's impact on data collection

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Nurse researcher


BACKGROUND: The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected data collection for many researchers, in particular research that involves face-to-face interviews. AIM: To share learning about the challenges encountered when face-to-face interviews could not continue as planned in a study and how to adapt data collection so that it can continue despite severe disruption. DISCUSSION: This article examines the considerations and actions taken by the authors to ensure the continuity of data collection. The research aimed to use narrative inquiry to understand the experiences of significant others supporting people in intensive care units with severe burn injuries. But the pandemic meant the researchers could not meet face-to-face with participants as originally intended and so they had to consider new ways to approach data collection. The authors explore the process of adapting the interviews to video conferencing and telephone use while preserving the study's person-centred focus to remain coherent with narrative methodology. CONCLUSION: Adapting data collection is valuable in ensuring the continuity of research. Careful consideration and planning are required to ensure the research remains robust and ethically sound. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Adapting data collection methods can allow for greater flexibility when participants cannot attend face-to-face interviews.

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