Library image, photo by Alireza Attari on Unsplash

Validity of energy social research during and after COVID-19: challenges, considerations, and responses

13 June, 2020

Validity of energy social research during and after COVID-19: challenges, considerations, and responses

Michael Fell

Gesche Huebner

Research paper   Buildings & EnergyPolicy & Governance

Michael Fell and Gesche Huebner

Measures to control the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are having unprecedented impacts on people’s lives around the world. In this paper, we argue that those conducting social research in the energy domain should give special consideration to the internal and external validity of their work conducted during this pandemic period. We set out a number of principles that researchers can consider to give themselves and research users greater confidence that findings and recommendations will still be applicable in years to come. Largely grounded in existing good practice guidance, our recommendations include collecting and reporting additional supporting contextual data, reviewing aspects of research design for vulnerability to validity challenges, and building in longitudinal elements where feasible. We suggest that these approaches also bring a number of opportunities to generate new insights. However, we caution that a more systemic challenge to validity of knowledge produced during this period may result from changes in the kinds of social research that it is practicable to pursue.

Publication details

Fell, M.J., Pagel, L., Chen, C., Goldberg, M.H., Herberz, M., Huebner, G.M., Sareen, S., Hahnel, U.J.J. 2020. Validity of energy social research during and after COVID-19: challenges, considerations, and responses. Energy Research & Social Science, 68: 101646. doi 10.1016/j.erss.2020.101646

Banner photo credit: Alireza Attari on Unsplash