Research Methods During COVID-19: Critique and Recommendations for Trauma Researchers
In response to COVID-19, pandemic scientists, including trauma scholars, have made herculean efforts to develop successful treatments, vaccines, and effective mitigation strategies and to understand the impact of the pandemic on public mental health. The need to socially distance made survey research a popular tool for some of this work: A web search of science for “COVID-19” and “survey” produces 23,174 articles as of March 16, 2022. Translating these findings into effective public health policy, however, has faltered as the public has struggled to cope with conflicting messages, misinformation, and disinformation (Dhawan et al., 2021). The result has been shifting guidelines, public confusion, and a declining trust in public health agencies like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC; RAND Corporation, 2021). Inconsistencies in messaging have also fueled the sense of uncertainty created by the pandemic, which could further undermine public trust in the guidelines suggested to mitigate COVID-19 risk. To remedy this situation, we need to recognize how science itself may have contributed to the problem.