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Researchers want your questions for new survey about Irish society during the pandemic

The research aims to record how Irish society has coped with the Covid-19 crisis.

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RESEARCHERS ARE ASKING members of the public to submit questions for a new survey as part of a project to record how Irish society coped with the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures introduced in the last number of months.

The Corona Citizens Science Project is led by NUI Galway’s Dr Akke Vellinga, with the help of Marc Mellotte at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics and DCU professor Anthony Staines.

“Over the space of 14 days we managed to get ethical approval, design and a questionnaire and launch the Corona Citizens Science Project”, Vellinga said. Three surveys were launched between 8 April and 6 May, with some 150,000 responses collected.

She said these numbers were “unimaginable before we started and showed the desire of the Irish people to be heard”.

The results from these surveys revealed challenges with working from home and home schooling as well as the absence of childcare. It identified a drop in the number of people feeling flu-like symptoms over the course of the first three surveys. 

“It also became clear that some people struggled with the isolation and/or anxiety issues,” Vellinga said.

This emerged from our questions as well as from the comments people could leave. From the questions, over 60% of respondents reported that they were feeling more anxious since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with the vast majority worried about catching the virus or a family member catching the virus (78%) while nearly 40% were worried about other health problems and around 30% of respondents about the relaxation of restrictions and their finances.

She said the questions so far have been mostly driven by researchers and now they want to use questions submitted by members of the public. 

“If it is a true Citizens Science Project, we should have everyone’s input,” she said.

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“We need to take our next step and get people’s input on what they want to know about the rest of the nation during this Covid-19 crisis.

“In this part of the project, we want to explore how people got on, how they feel about the easing of restrictions, how it is and has affected their daily life, worl, childcare situation, and how they are coping mentally.”

They are aiming to launch the next survey on 17 June. Anyone who is interested in submitting a question to appear on this survey can do so on this page.

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