Katherine Ellis, University of Surrey
The pandemic has meant that face-to-face research with special populations is not viable and there remains uncertainty as to when direct assessments with these underrepresented groups can restart. Our research team has embarked on applying our previous face-to-face protocol, which includes eye-tracking, cognitive and behavioural assessments, to online methods with neurotypical children, and children with genetic syndromes and intellectual disability.
I will discuss our experiences of moving research online and working with caregivers to support data collection with their child over a video-link. I will focus on the benefits and challenges of online research, outlining techniques on how to collect online data from groups that are traditionally difficult to include in research more broadly. I will compare the quality of the data and findings with previously collected face-to-face data from the same groups.
Online research reduces burden for families with additional needs by reducing travel and enabling greater flexibility. It also enables researchers to reach a greater number of people from rare and/or difficult to reach groups. However, we need to consider these benefits relative to the integrity of the data. This work will contribute to cost/benefit analyses on when to apply online techniques in special populations in the future.