With field work hit, researchers struggle to finish projects
It’s not just students who are feeling the impact of COVID-19 with academic schedules in disarray. Social science researchers in universities and institutes are unable to carry out field research or conduct in-person detailed assessments and interviews vital to their work. Some universities told The Hindu that research has halted and many departments are also seeing cuts in research grants.
S. Japhet, Vice-Chancellor, Bengaluru Central University, acknowledged that research work has been “immensely affected” during the pandemic.
“Our students and staff are unable to obtain primary sources of data and the secondary data is not properly documented in India. Many of our faculty members are also not very well versed with technology,” he said.
B.C. Mylarappa, Dean, Department of Social Sciences, Bangalore University, reported a similar trend.
Many of their research scholars are from rural areas and do not have access to online resources because of which they are unable to make any headway.
This has had a debilitating effect on the mental health of researchers, say psychologists. There have been many number of cases of ‘researcher burnout’ where those affected are battling anxiety. The burnout cycle begins with heightened and prolonged stress, and it decreases interest in work.
Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) have come out with a paper, ‘Researcher burnout: An overlooked aspect in mental health research in times of COVID 19’, which has been accepted to be published in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry.