More Panganayi is a graduate candidate at the Centre for Peace, Business and Leadership at Africa University, Zimbabwe, with research interests in peace, human security, good governance, African politics and sustainable development. He shares his research experiences in light of COVID-19 in the third post in our series.
The advent of COVID-19 has shaken the status quo of society to the foundation. Humanity and human security are under siege and, as human beings, we seem to be clueless as to the approaches to use. There is uncertainty with the majority of Zimbabweans wondering what their fate will be.
This uncertainty has not spared graduate candidates who are at various stages of their research studies. The indefinite closure of universities and the subsequent closure of research spaces has further exacerbated the situation.
As a researcher, I find myself in a dilemma as this indefinite closure wipes away the little hope that I had. The traditional methods of data gathering that I had intended to use are no longer tenable considering the 21-day lockdown. There is no certainty as to the actual length of the lockdown period as there are prospects that it might be extended. Initially, I had intentions of recruiting research assistants from the communities that I intend to use as my participants. We had intended to use focus groups discussions and follow up interviews. Unfortunately, no interviews of the research assistants can be done. To worsen the situation, we cannot carry out discussions and interviews due to the lockdown. The alternatives that had seemed plausible and ethical would have been to use either Zoom or Skype to carry out both the recruitment of research assistants, focus group discussions and interviews. These methods are not suitable because the areas where the research is intended to be conducted do not have internet connectivity.
Instead of continued focus on the initial research thereby perpetuating my agony, I have since decided to be proactive and am now researching about the best ways to deal with COVID-19. I have also made use of webinars taking place all over the world to try and understand how others are dealing with COVID-19. For those in the same predicament as me, this is the moment to conceptualise so many research papers.