The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented challenges for policymakers, public health officials, and societies. The social and economic effects are likely to be felt for years to come. This situation calls for an examination of how people react to policy measures that have been introduced, and what actions they take on their own initiative over and above the official advice by governments. What motivates citizens to follow, adapt to, or ignore, the advice of public authorities? What do they do to protect themselves, and to support others – and what roles do technologies play in fostering solidaristic practices? What, or who, do people trust in these uncertain times? What do people need to feel safe at the time of crisis? Can we identify policy measures, or approaches and instruments, that are more or less successful in motivating people to follow them?
The project examines these important questions in different European countries, including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, as well as non-European countries (with potentially other countries being added later in the process). ICS-UM and ISPUP will conduct the data collection and analysis for the Portuguese arm of the study.
We use a multi-sited qualitative research design involving in-depth open-ended interviews. The qualitative longitudinal study design allows us not only to identify differences and similarities in how people responded to the pandemic and the ensuing policy measures, but also why. These findings are expected to generate valuable evidence for policies for pandemic preparedness, prevention and containment in the countries under study, and beyond.