Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

You are being invited to take part in a research project about Lothians residents’ psychological and social experiences during the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19). Your contribution will help inform understanding about the effects of social isolation across different residents of Edinburgh and the Lothians. Participation is open to anyone currently residing in the Lothians, regardless of nationality, and is entirely voluntary. It is only open to those in isolation, either alone or with other household members.

You can make either a video or audio diary – whichever you are most comfortable with. You could also film other things, and add a voiceover to it if you prefer. What we’re looking for are videos or sound files that represent your perspective on Covid-19.

The study will involve you making a voice or video recording of yourself (and/or those in your home), and then uploading it to our website. You will then answer a 20-minute survey about your experiences during social isolation.

The results of this research will be written about in academic papers and books, discussed on social and public media outlets, and written up for policy reports. Your name will never be used, unless you want it to be. No one will ever be able to identify you from the words you say, unless you want people to know who you are. However, someone who knows you and hears or sees the recording that you submit might be able to identify you, and so for your protection, we will never play your contributed recordings on the TV, radio, internet, or public events, unless you tell us that you want us to. We would like to play parts of your recordings when we teach our students, or present our research findings in private, off-line contexts, but we will ask you to tell us whether or not you want us to.

All the information we collect over the course of this research will be handled in a way that respects Data Protection Law. If you’d like to remain anonymous, then we will store recordings and descriptions separately from any details that would make it possible for other people to identify you personally (like your name or email address). If you’d like people to know your identity, then that’s fine too. We will make sure that the information we gather is safe by using a storage service our university provides.

If you choose to make your name, face, voice, or identity public, you should be aware of the risks inherent to that choice.

Your recording can be as long as you like, but we’d suggest at least 5 minutes.

Yes, you can add multiple audio or video files for upload using the same upload link in the survey. If you want to send up subsequent recordings in the future, you can contact us directly by e-mail, and we’ll provide further instructions on how to do this. Please note that individual participants can only be paid once (i.e. for one audio/video diary and set of survey responses). You must both upload a recording and complete the survey in order to qualify for payment.

If you upload multiple recordings at the same time, each containing a different person, these people should also complete their own sets of survey questions to qualify for their payment.

To do this, after you have completed your survey, the second person should start over again, complete the consent form, skip the upload page, and then do their own survey. This can be repeated for as many people have contributed their own diaries.

Alternatively, each individual can upload only their recording, one at a time, through their own survey.

If you have any problems uploading multiple recordings or accessing the survey, please contact us using our e-mail address above.

Our Participate page has some ideas for things you could talk about.

Yes, send us an email at and we’ll get in touch.

Yes, as long as you have the right to share the video with us. Be as creative as you like!

Yes! We will need some details from you to confirm your consent to use your data, and then to pay you for participation. But we can ensure that no-one sees your contribution except the research team.

We don’t mind where you’re from originally, but right now we’re only collecting video diaries from current residents of the Lothians regions.

No, you just need to be a resident of the Lothians. We’re looking for lots of different perspectives!

No, we welcome diaries in any language and we especially welcome contributions in Gaelic and Scots.

No, anyone can participate as long as you are able to give consent or are with someone who can consent for you. If you’re under 16, then you just need a parent or caregiver to fill out the consent pages and you can do the rest (the video upload and the survey).

To thank you for participating in our study, at the end of the survey you will be offered £15. Funding comes from research team members and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

There are three options you can choose form.

  • We can pay you via bank transfer (we would need your bank details in order to do this).
  • We can send you a £15 voucher for a local business of your choice.
  • We can donate your £15 contribution to the charitable organisation of your choice.

It can take up to two weeks to process payments. 

You’ll be shown an upload box after filling in the online consent form (as part of the survey). You’ll be shown a unique ID number (video ID), which you’ll need to enter into the uploader so that we can match your recording to your survey answers. We will need to check that you have completed both the survey and uploaded a recording in order to pay you!

To be eligible for the £15 payment, we’ll need you to complete the survey too. But if you’ve already participated in the CovidLife survey, then you don’t need to complete our survey.

Unfortunately, we can only pay for participation once. However, if you would like to make further video/audio diary contributions anyway, please get in touch:

Eventually, yes! Right now, we are just collecting survey answers and data, but we are working on making your video/audio diaries available for browsing in the future.

That’s completely fine! Just mark the option for that on the consent form and we’ll make sure your contribution remains private.

The immediate project goal is to understand the impact of Covid-19 social distancing and stay-at-home policies on residents of Edinburgh and the Lothians. There are a lot of other questionnaire-style surveys being done on this topic, but these can’t really capture the full picture and may not be able to cover issues that are important to people. Our analysis of your recordings, together with your survey answers, will help answer questions about how individuals respond to a stay-at-home order: who struggles, how, and why? What factors help an individual’s well-being during lockdown? Based on the results of this study, we will write a report offering recommendations for policymakers and practitioners on how lockdown orders could be implemented effectively.

Quite a few of us are also specifically interested in how people speak and what that can tell us about communities in Edinburgh and the Lothians. The diary project is part of Edinburgh Speaks, which is exploring how accent and dialect features express and construct speakers’ identities and attitudes. With your help, we can better understand how our communication is changing, particularly now that we’re mostly communicating through computers and phones.

Museums & Galleries Edinburgh will add any video/audio recordings collected to their social history oral histories, forming part of a permanent historical record of the city during coronavirus. For further information on their wider collections head to the M&GE website:

Yes, this project has been approved by the ethics committee of the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Science, University of Edinburgh.

The University of Edinburgh is known as “a Data Controller” for the information you provide. You have the right to access any information that is held about you. You can exercise this right in accordance with Data Protection Law. You also have other rights including rights of correction (if you think there is an error), erasure (if you want your information thrown away), and objection (if you disagree with something).  For more details, including the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office, please visit Questions, comments and requests about your personal data can also be sent to the University Data Protection Officer at

The research team will be sharing the results of the project via a website to be made at the conclusion of the study. To be contacted when the website is ready, please give us your email address at the end of the study.

We would be delighted to talk to you about similar projects! You can reach us at and also on social media (links above).

video making tips
video making tips