Invitation to a webinar on Covid-19 research, the Disciplines and their Methodologies

The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), in collaboration with the Future Professors Programme (FPP),  cordially invite you to a webinar on Covid-19 research, the Disciplines and their Methodologies.

 Date: 24 November 2020

Time: 10:00 – 12:00 (GMT+2)

Venue:  Virtual via Zoom

RSVP: Click here. A link to the meeting room will be sent to all registered participants closer to the date.

Covid-19 has brought substantial impact to the research landscape in this country. Not only has it changed the types of questions that are being posed, but it has fostered – almost, one might say, forced – new kinds of cross disciplinary collaboration. Yet disciplines have very different ways of posing questions. They employ diverse methodologies, have different understanding of what constitutes ‘evidence’ and there are also disciplinary differences in how findings are reported and conclusions generated. This disciplinary babel has the potential to dissipate the focus of research questions, to proceed on the basis of inconsistent methodologies and ultimately dilute the impact of research findings. A deeper conversation about the approaches and methodologies of various disciplines (some that are key in current Covid-19 research) may go some way towards fostering greater fluency in inter-disciplinary research especially at a time like the present, when the demands of Covid-19 add elements of time pressure to research.

The Humanities are well positioned to host discussions around these questions, as enquiry into the nature of scholarly disciplines represents a well-established interest in Humanities. The ASSAf Standing Committee on the Humanities and Social Sciences proposes to host a webinar that will be based on a mediated conversation between scholars from disparate disciplines involved in aspects of Covid-19 research. The conversation will begin with discussion of what participants’ disciplines do, the questions that they pose as well as their evidentiary and methodological bases. The second, major, part of the webinar will concentrate on what happens when these disciplines are brought together in research projects, how questions are posed, who decides on methodology and what counts as evidence.