‘Oh sorry, I’ve muted you!’: Issues of connection and connectivity in qualitative (longitudinal) research with young fathers and family support professionals

The COVID-19 crisis has placed unique restrictions on social researchers in terms of how they conduct their research. It has also created opportunities for adaptation and critical reflection on methodological practice. This article considers how the unanticipated use of remote qualitative methods impacted processes of research connection and connectivity in qualitative (longitudinal) research. The reflections are based on fieldwork conducted for a qualitative longitudinal study about the parenting journeys and support needs of young fathers. We elaborate our key strategies and provide worked examples of how the research team modified their methods and responded in the crisis context. First, we consider questions of connection when seeking to (re)establish and retain connections with project stakeholders and marginalised participants through the pivot to remote methods. Second, we reflect on how processes of maintaining participation and interaction were impacted by practical and technological issues associated with the digitally mediated forms of connectivity available.


University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Anna Tarrant, University of Lincoln, School of Social and Political Sciences

Laura Way, University of Lincoln, School of Social and Political Sciences

Linzi Ladlow, University of Lincoln, School of Social and Political Sciences