1. Progress beyond the state of the art

The recent and ongoing socio-economic crisis is still relatively under-researched. Some initial studies have been conducted on the consequences of the crisis for social security and social inequality in various European countries, and there is some scattered research on socio-economic resilience. But in-depth and internationally comparative research on households’ living conditions and their coping mechanisms for the impact of the crisis is still lacking, especially in relation to socio-economic understandings of. There is a need to go beyond the statistical figures to gain insight into the underlying social facts and processes. These are the major gaps RESCuE aims to fill with its innovative conceptual and empirical design. RESCuE will achieve a progress beyond the state of the art in a number of ways, detailed below.

2. Sampling and obtaining field access

Each partner will select at least one urban and one rural case study area in which to carry out interviews and collect photographs. In each area a series of expert interviews will also be conducted, to provide essential information on the area from a local perspective, rather than relying on other sources, such as local or national government reports. These local experts will also help the research teams to identify and engage with household participants. In each area, the fieldwork will cover a range of different household economic backgrounds and circumstances.

3. Developing fieldwork instruments

The team will jointly develop four fieldwork instruments:1) a topic guide for the key informant interviews, 2) a topic guide for the household interviews, 3) a set of guidelines to give participants ideas for photographs they may want to take, and 4) the photographs themselves, which will act as prompts for a series of follow-up interviews. These guides will first be developed jointly and then adapted by each team to the specific national and local contexts in which the research will be carried out.

4. Conducting interviews and participant observations, and collecting visual material

Each team will conduct interviews with experts and households who have experience of, or have been affected in some way by the crisis. Half of these will take place in a rural setting, and half in an urban setting. The number of interviews will ensure enough qualitative data to be collected. Each national team will:

  • Conduct and analyse expert interviews with local experts involved in the protection of and/or assistance for people affected by crisis (NGO technical staff, neighbourhood associations, local and central government, scientists etc.), four in each of the two case settings.
  • Conduct and analyse narrative in-depth interviews with citizens and their families affected by the current crisis.affected by the current crisis. Special attention will be paid to how people feel their lives have changed or stayed the same since the crisis, and how households feel their resources and strategies for coping have changed. Some participants will then be given a camera to take pictures of their own lives and what is important to them, using the prompts provided by the research teams. The interviews may take place singly or in groups, depending on the composition of the household
  • Conduct and analyse follow-up interviews with those participants who were invited to take photos. Participants will be invited to take photos based on their initial interviews. Observe and analyse relevant and significant situations in and around the households’ everyday life and activities. This will take place alongside the interviews, as well as whilst researchers are in the field. This will be documented in field notes and observation records, and will serve to cross-check and complement the material produced.
5. Supporting and validating activities

Field teams will consist of several researchers who will support one another and discuss initial reactions to, and during the interviews. They will be advised by a specialist Scientific Advisory Board, made of distinguished methodologists and experts in combining visual, interview and observation-based field data in interpretive analysis. A workshop will be held to allow for in-depth interaction between these experts and the RESCuE field researchers.

6. Field data processing and compilation activities and delivery tasks to other Workpackages

All material produced will be recorded. Samples of significant sections of interviews with non-English speakers will be translated into English for use in reports and publications. Information gathered during the fieldwork has a number of purposes. Firstly, photographic and transcribed interview data will be used in a web-based photographic exhibition which will document the research and highlight comparisons between reactions to the crisis, as well as how different households have been affected, across Europe. Photographs and transcribed texts will be used for analysis and academic publications on the current crisis in Europe, particularly people’s reactions, resistance and resilience in the face of it.