The 21st century disease outbreaks, such as Ebola and Zika highlighted the need to use social science approaches and actions to fight deadly disease outbreaks and epidemics.

The ongoing establishment of The Global Health Network's 'COVID-19 Working Groups' aims to address the discussion and gather consensus on the emerging COVID-19 research gaps across low-resource settings. This working group is set up to work around Social Sciences studies in order to better understand the effects of the COVID-19 and which measures should be implemented.

Over 130 researchers from across the globe working or wanting to work in Social Sciences have come together in this group to discuss ideas, form collaborations, access funding as well as share outputs and resources that others can use. There is so much experience that can be applied here - let's use that to help this immediate need to supporting research everywhere there are cases, now!

Current work

On the 8th June, The Global Health Network supported the first virtual team meeting for the ‘Social Sciences Open Working Group’. The meeting was organised in response to questions raised in COVID-19 workshops which highlighted the need for greater discussion of the impact that COVID-19 pandemic might have on vulnerable populations, mental health, and education. Do people perceive COVID-19 as a greater global threat than other worldwide crises (e.g. Climate Change)? What is the impact of fake news on managing the pandemic and in planning the way forward after this emergency period?

After a meeting with the team leaders on the 10/07/2020, using the themes identified in the report from the first meeting it was decided that the WG would be best utilised splitting members into 2 subgroups working on the following themes:

  • A team is working on COVID-19 knowledge gaps and perceptions at the community level 

Following this first meeting of this subgroup held on 17th July, (view the report) team leaders have drafted a protocols with the input of the larger group, which was then presented to the group through a zoom call on 31st July. It was then posted on this page (at the bottom). Team members have commented on this by mid August. The coordination team met on the 17th of August again and has worked on incorporating the comments.

  • The impact on the mental health of healthcare workers

Leaders of this WG have met on 17th July, and two of them have decided to develop a draft protocol regarding this topic (view the report). On 17th August, leaders met again to go over objectives and methodology for this protocol (view the minutes).

After having draft a first full protocol, another meeting was held on 28th August (view the minutes), with the larger SS team leaders to gather input and review the protocol.

Latest minutes discussing Study materials:

Final version of the protocols have been shared with TGHN coordination team and have now been sent for external reviewers to give input and comments. Meanwhile team coordinators have now started to think about the operational side. Team leaders are now discussing and writing:

  • Data collection tools (Structured questionnaires) 
  • Study SOPs (including data management, community engagement, infection control etc) 
  • Study Budgets
  • Ethics review process (consent forms, translations, IRB applications etc)


Discussion Forum

A discussion forum is availablefor members of this
Working Group to communicate.
Join the discussion and get involved!

Social Science Resources

As part of the COVID-19 Research Implementation Hub,
on the Intervention Trials page you will learn how Social Sciences studies are vital to understand how key social and cultural factors impact those affected by COVID-19 as well as the broader general public in order to improve current public health strategies design and implementation and to better prepare and control outbreaks in the future.

Working Documents

Here you are able to find all the working documents from the different WGs for you to comment on;

How to become part of this WG?

If you are interested please register and we will be in touch! We look forward to hearing back from you and hope we can work together to support a strong and equitable global research response during this pandemic.