Data for Development: Shifting Research Methodologies for Covid-19




marginalised communities, research methods, development, COVID, digital research


Successful and appropriate informal digital learning can help individuals and communities build sustainable and meaningful livelihoods, strengthen social cohesion and resilience, preserve and enhance cultural traditions and engage constructively and robustly with the wider world. Building digital learning that embodies participative and collaborative development and community ownership and control rests on the work of educators who understand these individuals and communities and their cultures, which may be very distant and different from global norms and the mainstream of their countries. These educators may, however, be reliant on research tools and techniques that are inappropriate or inadequate in these different settings and situations. This paper sets out a brief critique of these established tools and techniques as the prelude to reviewing a range of more innovative and eclectic ones drawn from a variety of disciplines. This is timely because COVID-19 has increased the barriers that separate educators from would-be learners whilst also increasing the education that these people and communities need.

Author Biographies

John Traxler, University of Wolverhampton

John Traxler, FRSA, MBCS, AFIMA, MIET, is Professor of Digital Learning in the Institute of Education at the University of Wolverhampton. He was Founding Director of the International Association for Mobile Learning. He is co-editor of the definitive, Mobile Learning: a Handbook, the recent Critical Mobile Pedagogy, and many other books, keynotes, panels, papers, articles and chapters on all aspects of learning with mobiles. His papers have been cited over 8000 times. He has worked on many digital learning projects and missions, mostly in England, Europe, the Middle East and Africa for a variety of national and international agencies.

Matt Smith, University of Wolverhampton

Dr Matt Smith predominantly works on mobile and digital learning, particularly in the Globalised South and with marginalised communities; digital literacy; and – currently – the use of social media for public health benefits. He recently co-authored a report for the Department for International Development's EdTech Hub on lessons learned to support governments' digital responses to the educational crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Amongst other internationally-collaborative research efforts, Matt works in Palestine focusing on developing mobile technologies for supporting the teaching of English; and in Brazil, supporting school populations to influence virus control through mobile applications



How to Cite

Traxler, J., & Smith, M. (2020). Data for Development: Shifting Research Methodologies for Covid-19. Journal of Learning for Development, 7(3), 306–325.



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