LA’s Monsur part of int'l team studying children’s adaptation during COVID-19
By: Norman Martin
Officials with Cardiff University, a public research university in Cardiff, Wales, reported this week on a new research study that includes Muntazar Monsur, an assistant professor within Texas Tech University's Department of Landscape Architecture. Here's part of the report.
Children's experiences of life during the COVID-19 pandemic are to be investigated by researchers. The study aims to find out what kinds of activities children and young people have been doing during the pandemic and how they have adjusted to the huge changes brought on by the lockdown.
Youngsters aged seven to 14 are being invited to complete a seven-day activity diary, as well as information on where they live and their family. The data will form part of an international study which includes four other countries – the United States, Taiwan, Singapore and Bangladesh.
The research team includes, Justin Spinney and Matluba Khan with Cardiff University's School of Geography and Planning, and Muntazar Monsur, an assistant professor within Texas Tech's Department of Landscape Architecture.
Life for children has altered dramatically since the COVID-19 lockdown began. Away from school and separated from friends and wider family, the types of activities children are able to engage in may be affecting their social development and well-being. Social inequalities, access to technology and outdoor spaces are all likely to have had an impact.
"Gathering first-hand accounts from children will give us the clearest insights into the factors that have enabled them to cope in this difficult period," Spinney said. "We hope parents, teachers and children will help spread the word about the diary so that our research is as wide-reaching as possible."
Monsur's role in the project will include designing and operationalizing a child-friendly survey for collecting data. He used the Qualtrics Survey System (Texas Tech's designated online survey platform) for creating the survey. He will also aid the translation of the survey to Bangla (Monsur's native language) for its distribution in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also responsible for data management, and will work with the team for data analyses.
"I have six years of work experience with Qualtrics, but developing a survey for this age group of kids which will document their daily activities for seven days was really challenging," Monsur said. "I put a lot of effort to make the survey image-based and child-friendly. I used the 'survey-flow' option to provide as much flexibility as possible so that children don't feel overwhelmed and bored. Children may start taking the survey on different days of the week.
"They can stop and resume on a later day but the survey would always save their data and resume from where they have left," he added. "They can skip a day and complete reporting for that day later. Finally, I did a test run with my 10-year-old daughter and incorporated her feedback, as well. I'm really excited to learn what kind of data we would receive at the end."
Monsur, an expert in measuring environment-behavior relationships in children's environments, joined Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources last year. His doctoral degree in design is from North Carolina State.
Participants in the upcoming study will be recruited opportunistically using social media, schools and word-of-mouth. The diary is available online and hard copies can also be distributed upon request. Once completed, children can download a copy and a certificate of participation as a future reminder of what they were doing during lockdown.
"By gathering this data we hope to understand what access children have to outdoor spaces and technology, how their activities and social relationships have changed during lockdown, what control they have over their activities, and how this differs from country-to-country," Khan said.
The research will be used to inform future urban planning policies, to ensure that children have access to the right resources to maximize their resilience in normal daily life and in the face of any future social restrictions. The team hopes to have captured its data from all countries by July.
CONTACT: Eric Bernard, Professor and Chairperson, Department of Landscape Architecture, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-3482 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0528NM20 / Editor's Note: For a full text version of the Cardiff University news item, please click here
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