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  • Dr. Scott Dueker

Research in the age of COVID


In March 2020, the world changed. At that point, I was ready to start a new study, working with a local ABA clinic. Then everything got shut down. Just like that I had no access to working with kids. I was relegated to working from home just to be safe from the virus.


I am a single-case researcher. My research involves interacting with kids. Implementing programs that teach a new skill. And suddenly, I couldn't do that. I had to shift to something else. Easier said than done for someone that has pretty much always done the same kind of research. My project was ready for recruitment of participants and could have begin within a month. And now it was put on indefinite hold.


But I did have an idea I had wanted to explore for a while. I'm not the biggest survey person. I will participate in surveys but had never done one on my own. But this project required me to develop a survey and find the best distribution network for it. I did my best and found that the best course was to send random emails to behavior analysts around the world. Because this project was not funded, I did not have any money to buy into any organization's mailing list.


Despite the limitations, we had reasonable participation and look forward to analyzing the results and getting it distributed. The results should lead to at least one additional paper and recommendations for the field.


The point of all this is that the pandemic did teach me one thing. Explore your other interests. This survey project would not have been high on my priority list in a non-pandemic world. I find the topic interesting but I really tend to focus on mathematics instruction. Without being forced to by the pandemic, I likely would not have completed this project anytime soon. Do what you love but make time for those other interests too.

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