• Andreas Ahrens Hochschule Wismar University of Applied Sciences Technology Business and Design
  • Jelena Zascerinska Centre for Education and Innovation Research



conceptual model, COVID-19, higher education students, traditional and remote fieldwork, social sciences, teaching a Research Methodology course, transformation


Transformations in social sciences accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic remain under-explored. The aim of the article is to analyse scientific literature on social sciences’ transformation in light of COVID-19 underpinning the elaboration of implications for teaching a Research Methodology course to the higher education students. The present research work made use of theoretical and empirical methods. The exploratory study was of qualitative nature. The study carried out in April 2021 was based on the analysis of scientific publications selected from the Web of Science and google search by indicating the key words “COVID-19” and “Social sciences’ transformation”. The conclusion is drawn that social sciences’ transformation to the remote conduct is “a new normal” in the conditions of uncertainty. Virtual fieldwork is proposed to be a new qualitative method in social sciences’ research as some populations live mostly in digital environments. Another conclusion is that there is a need for a balance, when composing the empirical study’s sample, between respondents in the digitally divided populations, namely inclusions of both groups’ - digital and non-digital - respondents. Implications for teaching a Research Methodology course to the higher education students are presented. Research limitations are identified. Directions of further research are proposed.


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Author Biographies

  • Andreas Ahrens, Hochschule Wismar University of Applied Sciences Technology Business and Design
    Andreas Ahrens received the Dipl.-Ing. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Rostock in 1996. From 1996 to 2008, he was with the Institute of Communications Engineering of the University of Rostock, from which he received the Dr.-Ing. and Dr.-Ing. habil. degree in 2000 and 2003, respectively. In 2008, he became a Professor for Signal and System theory at the Hochschule Wismar, University of Technology, Business and Design, Germany. His main fields of interest are error correcting codes, multiple-input multiple-output systems and iterative detection for both wireline and wireless communication.
  • Jelena Zascerinska, Centre for Education and Innovation Research
    Jeļena Zaščerinska was awarded Dr. paed. Degree from the University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia, in 2011. In January 2012 she became a leading researcher at the Centre for Education and Innovation Research, Riga, Latvia. Dr. paed. Jeļena Zaščerinska has been awarded a couple research grants to carry out interdisciplinary research. The research results are revealed in a number of scientific publications indexed by such publication databases as Thomson Reuters Conference Proceedings Citations Index, DBLP, Library of Congress, etc that demonstrates a high quality of her published contributions. In 2012 Dr. paed. Jeļena Zaščerinska was bestowed expert rights by the Latvian Council of Science, Riga, Latvia. In December 2013 Dr. paed. Jeļena Zaščerinska was awarded expert rights by Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, the European Commission, Brussels, Belgium. Since 2017 Dr. paed. Jeļena Zaščerinska acts as an expert at National Science Centre, Krakow, Poland. Since 2013 Dr. paed. Jeļena Zaščerinska has been actively acting as the Editorial Board Member and Reviewer in such international scientific journals as the Journal of Information Technology Research (JITR), International Journal of Modern Education Research (IJMER), International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research (IJLTER), Journal Current Issues in Education (CIE), International Journal of Modern Education Forum (IJMEF), etc. Dr. Jeļena Zaščerinska is a member of international research teams focused on interdisciplinary investigations of the inter-relationships between education, innovations and modern technologies.


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