On this page, you will find the most recent Directive to be mailed to the Mass Observers. You can download past copies of Mass Observation Project Directives here.
Part 1: COVID-19 Testing Stories
Covid-19 testing has now become a routine aspect of everyday life for many of us living in the UK. Tests are everywhere: they come in many different formats (e.g. PCR/Lateral Flow), are undertaken in diverse settings (educational, workplace, testing centre, hospital) and have multiple uses (to allow international travel, to reduce transmission in the workplace, to triage patients, for population level surveillance).
A striking feature of the UK’s test and trace strategy is its dependence on the good will and effort of members of the public. How people view testing is therefore hugely important, but little is known about people’s first-hand experiences of testing and how it has affected people’s everyday lives.
In the first part of this Directive, we ask you to reflect on your experiences of Covid-19 testing since the beginning of the pandemic. Testing has gone through many different iterations since March 2020 and with lockdown now easing across the country we would like to know about how your experience of testing has changed over time and how the latest policies are impacting on your life.
As always, please include anything that is important to you that you feel is missing from our questions.
• Thinking about one specific testing experience of your choice from beginning to end (e.g. why you got tested, your experience of undergoing testing, and how the test result impacted on your life and relationships), please can you tell us about that experience. We are interested in details of the whole testing process for example, interpreting symptoms, changing domestic/work plans, navigating an online booking system, self-isolating and telling others about test results.
• If you haven't undertaken a test, how are you feeling about the potential experience? Would you have to administer it for someone else such as your child/dependent? If so, what are your thoughts on this?
• How many tests have you undergone for Covid-19 since the pandemic began? If possible, list the tests you have taken and anything you remember about the circumstances around them (e.g. What kinds of test were they? Why were you tested? What was happening in the pandemic at that time? And where did you have the test?)
• Who do you think benefitted from the tests that you took and in what way?
• Have you ever been hesitant to get tested (or to test a child/dependent)? Why was this? What did you decide to do in the end?
• Do you have lateral flow tests in the house? Have you (or other people) used them? What for? What was your experience of doing the test?
• Have you ever self-administered a diagnostic test for other health reasons such as diabetes? How did this compare to your experience of Covid-19 testing?
Views on testing
• What is your view of the government Test and Trace programme (Test and Protect in Scotland) and how has your view changed over the course of the pandemic?
• Do you have any concerns about the accuracy of Covid-19 tests?
We welcome any additional thoughts or comments on the subject of COVID-19 testing.
Part 2: A favourite recipe and a memorable meal
We would like you to share with us one of your favourite recipes and a memorable meal. We are interested in the details of the food and the memories which it evokes.
Please tell us about a favourite recipe; this may be one you cook regularly, for a particular occasion or one that evokes special memories. Is it a recipe you inherited? Have you adapted it over time? Or is it a recipe you aspire to cook but find challenging?
Where do you keep the recipe? Is it hand-written in a book, cut out from a magazine or do you have it saved on a device? Or maybe it isn’t written down and you just remember it? Please feel free to write out the recipe, or take a photograph of it.
A memorable meal
Looking back, what has been one of your most memorable meals? Where were you and who were you with? Was it the food, the company or the occasion which made it most memorable? Please describe the food, and the setting of the meal? Who was it made by? What did it taste like?
If you have any photographs of your favourite recipe or your memorable meal, we would love to see them (although please remember not to identify yourself or anyone else).
JS/KP Summer 2021 Directive/No. 122