International Journal of Qualitative Methods

Researching with Qualitative Methodologies in the Time of Coronavirus: Clues and Challenges


Marcela Cornejo

Javiera Bustamante, Marais Del Río, Ximena de Toro, María Soledad Latorre


In late 2020 and the first semester of 2021, in Santiago de Chile, five women researchers who work with qualitative methodologies, based on their reflections on how the context of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on their doctoral research or their role as thesis advisors, conducted a reflective exploration of the conditions and challenges for qualitative research amid a global crisis. In this context, they convene once per week to explore how other researchers conduct and document their research processes, based on a purposive and thorough bibliographic exploration of qualitative studies on the pandemic and remote methods published in qualitative research journals. During these meetings, they reflect on and analyze the impacts and challenges of research in today’s world, identifying possibilities and challenges in the methodological and ethical domains. Thus, they organize the present paper around two axes: one on the effects of the pandemic on academic and research practices, in general terms, and another on the specific methodological challenges facing qualitative research during the pandemic. These challenges are largely caused by difficulties in accessing and recruiting participants; the conditions of participation, influenced by vulnerabilities or barriers that constitute factors of inequality; the data production strategies and methodologies used in virtual contexts; ethical considerations; and the effects of the pandemic context on quality and rigor criteria. The article concludes with reflections and questions on the meanings, underlying logic, and practices of qualitative research, which are interrogated and re-signified in light of the COVID-19 pandemic while also illuminating research in post-pandemic settings.