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School of Law hosts online event aimed at supporting doctoral researchers during covid-19

Woman taking notes on zoom call On the cusp of a second national lockdown, Birmingham City University and the West Midlands Legal Doctoral Network (WMLDN) have organised an online event to help doctoral researchers overcome the challenges of conducting research during the coronavirus pandemic.

Doctoral Research and Covid-19: Challenges and Opportunities, brings together PhD students from BCU, Aston University, University of Birmingham (UoB) and the University of Wolverhampton (UoW) to discuss the ways covid-19 has disrupted their work and lives.

The event addresses three main areas of concern, including methodological challenges associated with lockdown, opportunities created by the pandemic and likely long-term impacts on legal research and academia

Overcoming challenges and identifying opportunities

Though doctoral research is often considered a solitary undertaking, the nature of lockdown is compounding the negative effects of independent research, resulting in mental health challenges.

Dr I-Ju Chen, event co-ordinator for BCU and Assistant Lecturer at the School of Law points out:

‘Doing legal research can be a lonely experience. For some doctoral researchers, covid restrictions have resulted in increased feelings of isolation. There are logistical challenges, too. Such as not being able to access literature, data or stakeholders.’

International and cross-cultural research can also be affected, which is addressed by Elizabeth Ivwurie (UoW) who is exploring Nigerian creative industries amid the pandemic.

Other presentations focus on access to medicines for health research, managing research while social distancing and conducting qualitative interviews during the pandemic.

Support for doctoral students

While the event is primarily based on legal research and only open to those in the WMLD Network, I-Ju states that the findings and keynotes touch on many common experiences across multiple fields of research.

For those not eligible to attend the event on the 5th November, keynotes and blogs from the speakers will be available on the WMLDN website following the event.

BCU School of Law offers a number of initiatives to keep researchers engaged and supported through the pandemic, including online coffee mornings, writing sessions and weekly opportunities for students to present their research.