Collecting qualitative data during a pandemic


  • David Silverman King's College London



COVID-19, fieldwork, healthcare settings, qualitative research


The claims of qualitative research are often based on being physically present in a setting and the ability that gives to record interactional features unavailable to quantitative research. In a medical context, this can involve a number of scenarios which include observing medical encounters or interviewing patients.The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has made such co-presence impractical. This short paper discusses ways around this problem. It also demonstrates that, in a digital age, being ‘present’ in the ‘field’ needs to be reconsidered.

Author Biography

David Silverman, King's College London

David Silverman is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, Visiting Professor at the business schools at King’s College London and the University of Technology, Sydney, and Adjunct Professor in the Education Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Australia. His research interests focus on medical encounters. He is the author of many textbooks on qualitative research and runs workshops in qualitative research for PhD students and faculty in several European and Australian universities.


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How to Cite

Silverman, D. (2021). Collecting qualitative data during a pandemic. Communication and Medicine, 17(1), 76–84.



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