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“Slow research” in the time of Covid-19

Shubha Ranganathan

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2020.072


This commentary reflects on what it means to do public health and social science research in a post-Covid world. Given the global urgency brought on by the pandemic, it appears as if any kind of non-Covid research has become redundant or meaningless. Yet, in many ways, the pandemic has highlighted the need to go back to many of the old lessons in the social sciences and public health. Here, I draw on the concept of “slow research” in global health to foreground some of these principles – the need to pay attention to local contexts and particularities, the importance of time to contemplate on the complexity of findings, and the need to think beyond global agendas that seek quick findings and globally scalable solutions, and focus on what is socially relevant in different local contexts. While not cast in opposition to rapid research, slow research is an important alternative, particularly in pandemic times.

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