Life in 2020 was a challenge for everyone. Dr. Tadamasa Sawada, Assistant Professor at the School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, shares his experience how the pandemic changed his life, teaching, and research.
Even though 2020 caused me a lot of stress (because of reasons we all well know), I decided to concentrate on my research. I had to think about it more strategically, as I was striving for a tenure promotion in three years.
Clearly my isolation at home did not contribute to empirical studies. This kind of research under Cognitive Science requires real-life participants, but recruiting a sufficient number of human participants was difficult during the pandemic.
However, research is not a thing that can be completely stopped by COVID-19. Hence, I decided to conduct some theoretical studies instead. It is often said that theoretical scientists publish fewer papers than empirical experts do in Cognitive Science. There are several reasons for this. For example, peer review of theoretical studies can take more time than for empirical studies. The first round of review usually takes less than two months for empirical studies, while for theoretical studies it can easily take more than six months (in my case, the longest was 11 months).
I took advantage of my isolation at home and worked on multiple theoretical projects in parallel. My apartment became the headquarters of my research life during lockdown and this allowed me to work from morning till night.
I became a devoted researcher who could consider his research problems longer and further with fewer interruptions, but with insights and inspiration.
My strategy seems to be working well to some extent. I have four publications (three of them are in the Q1), one manuscript is accepted, three manuscripts are under review, and a few manuscripts are already in preparation this year.
Teaching online was also a challenge, but I think that hybrid format of teaching is here to stay. The main problem of teaching online for me is that I can barely recognize faces of students from the online courses. Usually they recognize me in the hallways and say hi to me but I do not understand why they might know me.
This teaching experience has broadened my horizons and helped me to organize an online course, which has been delivered to multiple HSE University campuses since September 2021.
I believe that scientists and teachers, including myself, can be persistent and can take advantage of every opportunity to succeed in their research.