COVID-19: policy response and societal impacts
The core team and our affiliates have been developing new research into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities at a local, national and international scale. Here are some of the projects we are contributing to:
Childcare and Well-being: Developing Crisis-Resilient Care Systems in Times of COVID-19
This research project explores how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected families’ childcare arrangements and the well-being of children and their parents in Scotland, both in the short and longer term, with the aim to develop a policy toolkit to support Local Councils in developing crisis-resilient, high-quality local childcare hubs, and to provide evidence-based recommendations for the Scottish and UK governments for national ECEC frameworks that can weather potential next COVID-waves or other pandemics.
To understand the impact of COVID-19 on families’ childcare arrangements, this project will undertake a series of in-depth qualitative interviews with parents. The innovative, longitudinal research design will capture changes over time as well as differences within the target population. To build the most comprehensive picture of the impact of COVID-19 on childcare and well-being, the findings from the parents-interviews will be related to data from a range of nationally representative surveys (e.g. Understanding Society; Growing up in Scotland) and other secondary data, including information on divisions of care responsibilities, home schooling, health and socio-economic and demographic variables; and enriched by a series of expert-interviews with stakeholders in the early years and school sector (e.g. practitioners, advocacy organisations, Local Council representatives).
This project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to Covid-19.
Project website: http://www.childcare-covid.org/
Project Team – Dr Ingela Naumann, Dr Alan Marshall, Dr Helen Packwood, Dr Kevin Ralston
Social Distancing during the Coronavirus Outbreak
The recent introduction of ‘social distancing’ policies around the world, intended to reduce spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), has raised important concerns regarding the consequences of these policies for the health and wellbeing of populations, particularly those in later life. This project, led by Dr Emily Adrion and involving Alex Janus and Alan Marshall, is aimed at understanding experiences during this time of active COVID-19-related social distancing policies. The research has recently received additional funding from the Atlantic Rhodes Trust to extend the survey to Latin America. The survey itself is currently available in English and Portuguese (and is soon to be available in Spanish!). Take the survey and and share it here:
Project Team – Dr Emily Adrion, Dr Alex Janus, Dr Alan Marshall
Understanding and reducing the psychosocial impact of Coronavirus social distancing and behavioural changes on families of care home residents in Scotland
Government-led mandates have sought to contain spread of Coronavirus and reduce burdens on healthcare systems. This had immediate unplanned impact on older people and their loved ones living in care homes in Scotland through social distancing and reduced personal contact. We will investigate the implications of this for health in the longer term through the lens of loved ones/ significant others in relation to a) how disruption in relationships impacts on the overall potential to support care for older individual/s b) specific issues emerging in relation to their social and psychological support. Findings will inform longer term learning beyond COVID-19 about range and methods to support positive interactions between care home residents and their loved ones.
Once the fieldwork is complete, we will begin data coding (survey) and transcription of interviews. Statistical analysis of survey data in the project will be overseen by Dr Alan Marshall and the SPS Research Training Centre team, a collection of social science methodologists including quantitative social scientists clustered around its Q-Step centre.
Project website: https://www.creativecovidcare.com/
Project Team – Dr George Palattiyil, Dr Sumeet Jain, Dr Jo Hockley, Prof Lynn Jamieson, Dr Dina Sidhva, Prof Debbie Tolson, Dr Neil Quinn, Prof Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Rikke Iversholt, Linda McKie
Exploring public libraries in lockdown
Over the last two decades, public libraries have encountered significant challenges to their purpose and value. These include advances in technology, the introduction of digital services, and the resultant changing needs, demands and expectations of users. Austerity driven policy measures and the resultant cuts to public services have created further pressures. Public libraries, on one hand, been given a role in allaying the social and economic consequences of welfare cuts, and supporting those worst affected. Yet these demands are made in a context of diminishing resources and limited opportunities for influencing political decision-making and social processes.
COVID-19 and lockdown is further testing the fortitude of public libraries. It is critical now, more than ever, to conduct detailed and thorough research into the social life of the public library. In this study, we explore this key moment for public libraries. What has the response by public libraries to lockdown told us about the social value of public libraries? How has lockdown impacted on the digital offer? And what is the possible long-term impact on the role and identity of public libraries and their physical presence in community life?
To explore these issues, in-depth longitudinal interviews are taking place with library staff in different roles across Scotland. This will follow library staff as they return to face-to-face service provision. These interviews are part of a larger study on the social life of the public library in austerity, funded by a Leverhulme Trust grant. To date, this project has used in-depth case studies to examine how Scottish libraries are used and their impact on the people that use them and the communities they provide for.
Project website: https://anewpage.org
Principal investigator: Dr Emma Davidson
Recording Life during a Pandemic: The Lothian Diary Project
This project investigates questions of public health, media, and communication among residents of Edinburgh and the Lothians in relation to COVID-19. The project draws on individuals’ personal accounts of the pandemic, in the form of video and audio diary data recorded during the UK stay-at-home order. The intimate, immediate, and spontaneous nature of video diaries makes them a unique data resource for assessing drivers of individual experience, including (1) acceptance, uptake, and adherence to public health measures, (2) impacts on mental health, and (3) fears, anxieties, rumours and stigma. Our large, online collection of personal video diaries, which represent time-sensitive data of individuals’ raw experiences, and are context-sensitive to aspects of identity, demographics, and background will be archived and shared through installations and interactive exhibits at Museums and Galleries of Edinburgh. Our findings will also be shared with policy-makers.
Project website: https://lothianlockdown.org/
Project twitter: @lothianlockdown
Project Team: Dr. Lauren Hall-Lew, Dr Sarah Liu, Dr Clare Llewellyn, Dr Catherine Lai, Dr Claire Cowie, Dr Nini Fang and Dr Beatrice Alex.