Data collection challenges in emergency care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons learnt
Emerging infectious diseases have affected every aspect of medical practice and the advent of COVID-19 in 2019 created many challenges for basic science research methods. Face-to-face data collection was extremely problematic to undertake in any healthcare environment. The emergency department (ED) in low-resource environments, specifically, was severely impacted by the research restrictions, the psychological state of the ED staff, and the lack of perceived importance of research in the emergency departments. This paper aims to reflect on the challenges in collecting research data in the ED during the COVID-19 pandemic and provides some suggestions and lessons learnt for other researchers embarking on such a path. Notwithstanding challenges inherent to virtual platforms, video-calling may be an option rather than in-person interviewing and can allow for data collection over a large geographical area, even when social distancing measures are not in place. New opportunities were acquired through which the selfreflexive practice characteristics of actionresearch were strengthened.