Original Research - Special Collection: Contemporary Issues in Nursing

Navigating postgraduate research during the COVID-19 pandemic: A scoping review

Patricia Y. Mudzi, Witness Mudzi
Curationis | Vol 45, No 1 | a2373 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v45i1.2373 | © 2022 Patricia Y. Mudzi, Witness Mudzi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 June 2022 | Published: 21 September 2022

About the author(s)

Patricia Y. Mudzi, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Witness Mudzi, Center for Graduate Support, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The worldwide coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic compelled higher education institutions and postgraduate students (master’s and PhD) to rethink their research designs, as alert level restrictions affected data collection.

Objectives: To identify and map out the breadth of evidence available on the challenges and opportunities for conducting postgraduate research during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Method: A scoping review was conducted in CINAHL, MEDLINE (EBSCO), SCOPUS and PubMed databases. The authors independently began by screening the titles, the abstracts and full texts. Duplications were removed during the title and abstract screening by exporting them into EndNote.

Results: The search identified 463 documents, and 12 were included in the final review. The documents were studies commentaries, letters (n = 1) from India and guidelines from countries across the globe. The common themes that were reported on the challenges of conducting postgraduate research were the inability to collect data, the digital divide and changes in study designs.

Conclusion: The review reports on the opportunities and challenges in conducting postgraduate research during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the limited evidence on the opportunities of conducting postgraduate research, most postgraduate research stalled because of COVID-19 restrictions. There is a need for more literature to explore further postgraduate research opportunities during COVID-19 and beyond.

Contribution: The focus on the challenges and opportunities in conducting postgraduate research during the COVID-19 pandemic may assist in the development of strategies needed to mitigate the effects of this and future pandemics.


Keywords

postgraduate; research; students; challenges; opportunities; COVID-19

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