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Issue Six (2020/2021)

The 2020/2021 Issue 6 of Hillary Place Papers

As we all know, the last eighteen months have seen the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and like all other parts of society, the day-to-day activities of university life have been disrupted. For those conducting research, timetables have had to respond, and approaches have had to be modified. But research has continued, and researchers have shown their resilience and creativity in developing or adapting revised methods to ensure their projects continued. The papers in this edition are a testimony to the resilience of the research community.

In this issue, the focus is on Learning from the Pandemic: in Research and in Practice so that we can share the experiences of how post-graduate researchers have responded to the demands and limitations of the pandemic to ensure that their respective projects continue and meet the demands of rigorous research.

In the first paper, Gemma Carr and Karen Tatham report on the way in which COVID-19 has transformed the qualitative interview process as remote video has become the modus operandi and challenged the dominance of face-to-face interviews. The paper explores how virtual access creates geographic freedoms but raises subjective risks from interviewing in the virtual space through a delineation of what is ‘public’ or ‘private’ as participants and researchers share their domestic spheres.

Eleanor Craig reflects on how in the second year of a PhD project, the impact of COVID-19 required continuous assessment of recruiting participants and research methods. Set in the field of researching Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), the author reflects on the use of charities as gatekeepers in helping to mitigate the ethical challenges in researching vulnerable people. However, at a time when the services of charities were experiencing even higher demand, the paper explores the challenges of recruiting participants through gatekeepers using the author’s personal experience of researching CSA as a case study.

Laura Fox considers the challenges of researching the voice of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), including language and communication needs, at a time of limited access to schools and face-to-face data collection methods. This necessitates the use of novel and remote ways of collecting data. The challenges faced because of COVID-19, including redesigning the study to accommodate the lack of school availability are discussed, along with the way in which technology can be used to assist in data collection during a pandemic. The paper provides an insight into alternative data collection methods and how this global crisis may have benefited data collection from hard-to-reach samples.

The paper by Amal Basheikh examines the use of smartphones in language learning before and after the pandemic and considers the influence of lockdown and online distance learning on students’ use of electronic devices and their motivation. The findings of this study provide and insight into how external circumstances and relationships with technology affect the use of mobile devices in language learning.

In the fifth paper by Lamya Alfadhel and Lamya Aloraini, the authors present an insight into how students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) face the challenges of home learning during full or partial lockdown. The knowledge and the skills required by the family or caregiver suggests that they need to be trained and prepared to use the specific interventions and strategies used for their children in school.

Set in the context of the Algerian education system, the sixth and final paper by Souhila Kebassi reports on student’s perceived relative values around secondary school scientific and literary pathways. The paper reflects on how COVID-19 impacted the qualitative research design in respect of two domains: first, site and participant selection and second, in terms of data collection methods. The paper highlights the author’s experience of remote fieldwork during the pandemic with all its ups and downs, to encourage reflexivity and flexibility in conducting remote qualitative research.

Finally, our thanks again to all those who submitted papers, to all the staff reviewers and to those who worked on the editorial team reviewing papers, advertising the call for papers, and developing the content and appearance of the website at a time when they too were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individual articles:

Carr, G. and Tatham, K. - ‘Excuse me, I have a delivery’ The [re] construction of interview ‘space' in the Covid-19 pandemic

Craig, E. - Epidemic Academia: The Challenges Faced when Conducting Research on Child Sexual Abuse During Covid-19

Fox, L. - Researching Children’s Experiences in a Global Pandemic

Basheikh, A. - Smartphone Use for Language Learning Before and After the COVID-19 Lockdown

Alfadhel, L. and Aloraini, L. - Family roles in their children’s education: A critical discussion of the future roles of families in educating their child with special educational needs and disabilities

Kebassi, S. - Implementation of remote data collection methods for qualitative research in a global pandemic: reflections from fieldwork in Algeria

Complete issue: 

Volume 6 Hillary Place Papers (full PDF)