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INESC TEC and ISPUP present Diaries of a Pandemic

To understand the dynamics of citizens’ adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic in Portugal. This is the main objective of an initiative launched by the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto (ISPUP) and by INESC TEC, in partnership with the newspaper Público.

25th March 2020

The study Diaries of a pandemic invites citizens to answer a set of question on a daily basis, which will help understanding the evolution in the lives of Portuguese people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Basically, and following the logic of the so-called “Citizen Science”, people are asked to collaborate in the development of scientific knowledge in a significantly important field, with great impact on the life of the community. In what concerns Public Health, there is no science without citizens. They are the final recipients of scientific knowledge, and should be the main source of information in the production of knowledge”, pointed out Artur Rocha, coordinator of INESC TEC’s Centre for Information Systems and Computer Graphics (CSIG), and Henrique Barros, director of ISPUP.

The information collected (with the support of the newspaper Público) will later be analysed by researchers from ISPUP and the Centre for Information Systems and Computer Graphics. Then, Público will be responsible for the first-hand dissemination of the results.

What will citizens have to do?

Citizens are invited to answer a small set of questions on a daily basis (it should take 5 to 10 minutes). The questions are available online, and they aim to measure people’s social interactions and the frequency they resort to healthcare and commercial services – as well as the presence of symptoms and confirmed cases – during the course of the COVID-19 epidemic in Portugal.

In addition to the responses to the questionnaires, the only information requested is an email address, for the purposes of registering and receiving daily reminders. After signing up, each user will receive a daily reminder notifying them to answer the same set of questions, always concerning the previous 24 hours. Once a week, each participant will also be asked to answer a set of questions about their well-being in the context of the current epidemic.

The data collection process will take place over the next three to five months, depending on the evolution of the pandemic in our country.

By participating in the study “Diaries of a pandemic”, people are “contributing to know how to act accordingly, in order to reduce the negative impact of the epidemic in Portugal. People’s contribution is important to society – and ultimately a solidarity gesture towards those we cherish the most”, pointed out the researchers.

The INESC TEC researcher mentioned in this news piece is associated with INESC TEC.