Researching through COVID-19

Posted on 3rd March, 2021, under Research

Research & Social Distance

Yes, COVID-19 sucks! However, while it might be lonely, there are so many ways to reach out. For example, Zoom, whoever knew it would become part of so many lives? Personally, I love Zoom. Some other platforms, not so much. Zoom has helped me continue to take part in colleague classes where I see my lectures, supervisors and fellow students. Together we engage in fantastic conversations that are no less important or diminished by the virtual platform. Also, I save a two-hour each way car journey to the physical college. Although I am looking forward to seeing people in the physical world again yet, it is not all bad.

Staying Connected

With life, with health, with people and don’t forget, with your research. The elements of researching are all interconnected. Without minding the ‘self,’ everything else suffers.

I know for me, if I don’t keep on top of my research, then I get overwhelmed and my mental health suffers. If I don’t find time for my family again, I feel bad and my work output is not strong. It’s all about balance (how annoying is it when you are low and that is all the advice you get?). For me, the big difference is about communication. When I feel bad, I tell my family or friend’s I am having a bad day.


I am dipping my toes into the inclusive learning model of Universal design ‘UDL’ with help from Mary Quirk, an expert in the field. Mary was a colleague, but due to the pressures of COVID-19 and our close working relationship, I now consider Mary, a good friend.

PGR Conference

I am part of five PhD research students who are creating the 2021 TCD PGR research conference. We are developing new skills in a virtual world and the experience has had its fair share of challenges (thank you, COVID). Yet, it forces me out of my comfort zone to learn how to communicate in the virtual world.


There is often a good reason to work hard and keep trying, even on the days when isolation seems to swallow you up. For me, this reason is my children. Not just to be there for them but to show myself and my children that life has so much to offer. We just have to go out there and explore it.


This research was funded by the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Award 2020.

Catherine (Kitty) O'Reilly
Catherine (Kitty) O'Reilly Collage

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