How to Write About Coronavirus in a College Essay

Students can share how they navigated life during the coronavirus pandemic in a full-length essay or an optional supplement.

Writing About COVID-19 in College Essays

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Experts say students should be honest and not limit themselves to merely their experiences with the pandemic.

The global impact of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, means colleges and prospective students alike are in for an admissions cycle like no other. Both face unprecedented challenges and questions as they grapple with their respective futures amid the ongoing fallout of the pandemic.

Colleges must examine applicants without the aid of standardized test scores for many – a factor that prompted many schools to go test-optional for now . Even grades, a significant component of a college application, may be hard to interpret with some high schools adopting pass-fail classes last spring due to the pandemic. Major college admissions factors are suddenly skewed.

"I can't help but think other (admissions) factors are going to matter more," says Ethan Sawyer, founder of the College Essay Guy, a website that offers free and paid essay-writing resources.

College essays and letters of recommendation , Sawyer says, are likely to carry more weight than ever in this admissions cycle. And many essays will likely focus on how the pandemic shaped students' lives throughout an often tumultuous 2020.

But before writing a college essay focused on the coronavirus, students should explore whether it's the best topic for them.

Writing About COVID-19 for a College Application

Much of daily life has been colored by the coronavirus. Virtual learning is the norm at many colleges and high schools, many extracurriculars have vanished and social lives have stalled for students complying with measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"For some young people, the pandemic took away what they envisioned as their senior year," says Robert Alexander, dean of admissions, financial aid and enrollment management at the University of Rochester in New York. "Maybe that's a spot on a varsity athletic team or the lead role in the fall play. And it's OK for them to mourn what should have been and what they feel like they lost, but more important is how are they making the most of the opportunities they do have?"

That question, Alexander says, is what colleges want answered if students choose to address COVID-19 in their college essay.

But the question of whether a student should write about the coronavirus is tricky. The answer depends largely on the student.

"In general, I don't think students should write about COVID-19 in their main personal statement for their application," Robin Miller, master college admissions counselor at IvyWise, a college counseling company, wrote in an email.

"Certainly, there may be exceptions to this based on a student's individual experience, but since the personal essay is the main place in the application where the student can really allow their voice to be heard and share insight into who they are as an individual, there are likely many other topics they can choose to write about that are more distinctive and unique than COVID-19," Miller says.

Opinions among admissions experts vary on whether to write about the likely popular topic of the pandemic.

"If your essay communicates something positive, unique, and compelling about you in an interesting and eloquent way, go for it," Carolyn Pippen, principal college admissions counselor at IvyWise, wrote in an email. She adds that students shouldn't be dissuaded from writing about a topic merely because it's common, noting that "topics are bound to repeat, no matter how hard we try to avoid it."

Above all, she urges honesty.

"If your experience within the context of the pandemic has been truly unique, then write about that experience, and the standing out will take care of itself," Pippen says. "If your experience has been generally the same as most other students in your context, then trying to find a unique angle can easily cross the line into exploiting a tragedy, or at least appearing as though you have."

But focusing entirely on the pandemic can limit a student to a single story and narrow who they are in an application, Sawyer says. "There are so many wonderful possibilities for what you can say about yourself outside of your experience within the pandemic."

He notes that passions, strengths, career interests and personal identity are among the multitude of essay topic options available to applicants and encourages them to probe their values to help determine the topic that matters most to them – and write about it.

That doesn't mean the pandemic experience has to be ignored if applicants feel the need to write about it.

Writing About Coronavirus in Main and Supplemental Essays

Students can choose to write a full-length college essay on the coronavirus or summarize their experience in a shorter form.

To help students explain how the pandemic affected them, The Common App has added an optional section to address this topic. Applicants have 250 words to describe their pandemic experience and the personal and academic impact of COVID-19.

"That's not a trick question, and there's no right or wrong answer," Alexander says. Colleges want to know, he adds, how students navigated the pandemic, how they prioritized their time, what responsibilities they took on and what they learned along the way.

If students can distill all of the above information into 250 words, there's likely no need to write about it in a full-length college essay, experts say. And applicants whose lives were not heavily altered by the pandemic may even choose to skip the optional COVID-19 question.

"This space is best used to discuss hardship and/or significant challenges that the student and/or the student's family experienced as a result of COVID-19 and how they have responded to those difficulties," Miller notes. Using the section to acknowledge a lack of impact, she adds, "could be perceived as trite and lacking insight, despite the good intentions of the applicant."

To guard against this lack of awareness, Sawyer encourages students to tap someone they trust to review their writing , whether it's the 250-word Common App response or the full-length essay.

Experts tend to agree that the short-form approach to this as an essay topic works better, but there are exceptions. And if a student does have a coronavirus story that he or she feels must be told, Alexander encourages the writer to be authentic in the essay.

"My advice for an essay about COVID-19 is the same as my advice about an essay for any topic – and that is, don't write what you think we want to read or hear," Alexander says. "Write what really changed you and that story that now is yours and yours alone to tell."

Sawyer urges students to ask themselves, "What's the sentence that only I can write?" He also encourages students to remember that the pandemic is only a chapter of their lives and not the whole book.

Miller, who cautions against writing a full-length essay on the coronavirus, says that if students choose to do so they should have a conversation with their high school counselor about whether that's the right move. And if students choose to proceed with COVID-19 as a topic, she says they need to be clear, detailed and insightful about what they learned and how they adapted along the way.

"Approaching the essay in this manner will provide important balance while demonstrating personal growth and vulnerability," Miller says.

Pippen encourages students to remember that they are in an unprecedented time for college admissions.

"It is important to keep in mind with all of these (admission) factors that no colleges have ever had to consider them this way in the selection process, if at all," Pippen says. "They have had very little time to calibrate their evaluations of different application components within their offices, let alone across institutions. This means that colleges will all be handling the admissions process a little bit differently, and their approaches may even evolve over the course of the admissions cycle."

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8.4 Annotated Student Sample: "U.S. Response to COVID-19" by Trevor Garcia

Learning outcomes.

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify the genre conventions of an informal analytical report.
  • Analyze the organizational structure of a report and how writers develop ideas.
  • Recognize how writers use evidence and objectivity to build credibility.
  • Identify sources of evidence within a text and in source citations.


The analytical report that follows was written by a student, Trevor Garcia, for a first-year composition course. Trevor’s assignment was to research and analyze a contemporary issue in terms of its causes or effects. He chose to analyze the causes behind the large numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the United States in 2020. The report is structured as an essay, and its format is informal.

Living by Their Own Words

Successes and failures.

student sample text With more than 83 million cases and 1.8 million deaths at the end of 2020, COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. By the end of 2020, the United States led the world in the number of cases, at more than 20 million infections and nearly 350,000 deaths. In comparison, the second-highest number of cases was in India, which at the end of 2020 had less than half the number of COVID-19 cases despite having a population four times greater than the U.S. (“COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic,” 2021). How did the United States come to have the world’s worst record in this pandemic? An examination of the U.S. response shows that a reduction of experts in key positions and programs, inaction that led to equipment shortages, and inconsistent policies were three major causes of the spread of the virus and the resulting deaths. end student sample text

annotated text Introduction. Informal reports follow essay structure and open with an overview. end annotated text

annotated text Statistics as Evidence. The writer gives statistics about infection rates and numbers of deaths; a comparison provides context. end annotated text

annotated text Source Citation in APA Style: No Author. A web page without a named author is cited by the title and the year. end annotated text

annotated text Thesis Statement. The rhetorical question leads to the thesis statement in the last sentence of the introduction. The thesis statement previews the organization and indicates the purpose—to analyze the causes of the U.S. response to the virus. end annotated text

Reductions in Expert Personnel and Preparedness Programs

annotated text Headings. This heading and those that follow mark sections of the report. end annotated text

annotated text Body. The three paragraphs under this heading support the first main point in the thesis statement. end annotated text

student sample text Epidemiologists and public health officials in the United States had long known that a global pandemic was possible. end student sample text

annotated text Topic Sentence. The paragraph opens with a sentence stating the topic. The rest of this paragraph and the two that follow develop the topic chronologically. end annotated text

student sample text In 2016, the National Security Council (NSC) published Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents , a 69-page document on responding to diseases spreading within and outside of the United States. On January 13, 2017, the joint transition teams of outgoing president Barack Obama and then president-elect Donald Trump performed a pandemic preparedness exercise based on the playbook; however, it was never adopted by the incoming administration (Goodman & Schulkin, 2020). A year later, in February 2018, the Trump administration began to cut funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leaving key positions unfilled. Other individuals who were fired or resigned in 2018 were the homeland security adviser, whose portfolio included global pandemics; the director for medical and biodefense preparedness; and the top official in charge of a pandemic response. None of them were replaced, thus leaving the White House with no senior person who had experience in public health (Goodman & Schulkin, 2020). Experts voiced concerns, among them Luciana Borio, director of medical and biodefense preparedness at the NSC, who spoke at a symposium marking the centennial of the 1918 influenza pandemic in May 2018: “The threat of pandemic flu is the number one health security concern,” she said. “Are we ready to respond? I fear the answer is no” (Sun, 2018, final para.). end student sample text

annotated text Audience. The writer assumes that his readers have a strong grasp of government and agencies within the government. end annotated text

annotated text Synthesis. The paragraph synthesizes factual evidence from two sources and cites them in APA style. end annotated text

annotated text Expert Quotation as Supporting Evidence. The expert’s credentials are given, her exact words are placed in quotation marks, and the source is cited in parentheses. end annotated text

annotated text Source Citation in APA Style: No Page Numbers. Because the source of the quotation has no page numbers, the specific paragraph within the source (“final para.”; alternatively, “para. 18”) is provided in the parenthetical citation. end annotated text

student sample text Cuts continued in 2019, among them a maintenance contract for ventilators in the federal emergency supply and PREDICT, a U.S. agency for international development designed to identify and prevent pandemics (Goodman & Schulkin, 2020). In July 2019, the White House eliminated the position of an American public health official in Beijing, China, who was working with China’s disease control agency to help detect and contain infectious diseases. The first case of COVID-19 emerged in China four months later, on November 17, 2019. end student sample text

annotated text Development of First Main Point. This paragraph continues the chronological development of the first point, using a transitional sentence and evidence to discuss the year 2019. end annotated text

student sample text After the first U.S. coronavirus case was confirmed in 2020, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was named to lead a task force on a response, but after several months, he was replaced when then vice president Mike Pence was officially charged with leading the White House Coronavirus Task Force (Ballhaus & Armour, 2020). Experts who remained, including Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, were sidelined. Turnover of personnel in related government departments and agencies continued throughout 2020, leaving the country without experts in key positions to lead the pandemic response. end student sample text

annotated text Development of First Main Point. This paragraph continues the chronological development of the first point, using a transitional sentence and evidence to discuss the start of the pandemic in 2020. end annotated text

Inaction and Equipment Shortages

annotated text Body. The three paragraphs under this heading support the second main point in the thesis statement. end annotated text

student sample text In January and February of 2020, the president’s daily brief included more than a dozen detailed warnings, based on wire intercepts, computer intercepts, and satellite images by the U.S. intelligence community (Miller & Nakashima, 2020). Although senior officials began to assemble a task force, no direct action was taken until mid-March. end student sample text

annotated text Topic Sentences. The paragraph opens with two sentences stating the topic that is developed in the following paragraphs. end annotated text

student sample text The stockpile of medical equipment and personal protective equipment was dangerously low before the pandemic began. Although the federal government had paid $9.8 million to manufacturers in 2018 and 2019 to develop and produce protective masks, by April 2020 the government had not yet received a single mask (Swaine, 2020). Despite the low stockpile, a request by the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in early 2020 to begin contacting companies about possible shortages of necessary medical equipment, including personal protective equipment, was denied. This decision was made to avoid alarming the industry and the public and to avoid giving the impression that the administration was not prepared for the pandemic (Ballhaus & Armour, 2020). end student sample text

annotated text Topic Sentence. The paragraph opens with a sentence stating the topic that is developed in the paragraph. end annotated text

annotated text Objective Stance. The writer presents evidence (facts, statistics, and examples) in mostly neutral, unemotional language, which builds trustworthiness, or ethos , with readers. end annotated text

annotated text Synthesis. The paragraph synthesizes factual evidence from two sources. end annotated text

student sample text When former President Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, federal agencies began placing bulk orders for masks and other medical equipment. These orders led to critical shortages throughout the nation. In addition, states were instructed to acquire their own equipment and found themselves bidding against each other for the limited supplies available, leading one head of a coronavirus team composed of consulting and private equity firms to remark that “the federal stockpile was . . . supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use” (Goodman & Schulkin, 2020, April 2, 2020). end student sample text

Policy Decisions

annotated text Body. The paragraph under this heading addresses the third main point in the thesis statement. end annotated text

student sample text Policy decisions, too, hampered the U.S. response to the pandemic. end student sample text

student sample text Although the HHS and NSC recommended stay-at-home directives on February 14, directives and guidelines for social distancing were not announced until March 16, and guidelines for mask wearing were inconsistent and contradictory (Goodman & Schulkin, 2020). Implementing the recommendations was left to the discretion of state governors, resulting in uneven stay-at-home orders, business closures, school closures, and mask mandates from state to state. The lack of a consistent message from the federal government not only delegated responsibility to state and local governments but also encouraged individuals to make their own choices, further hampering containment efforts. Seeing government officials and politicians without masks, for example, led many people to conclude that masks were unnecessary. Seeing large groups of people standing together at political rallies led people to ignore social distancing in their own lives. end student sample text

annotated text Synthesis. The paragraph synthesizes factual evidence from a source and examples drawn from the writer’s observation. end annotated text

student sample text Although the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in the United States in January, genetic researchers later determined that the viral strain responsible for sustained transmission of the disease did not enter the country until around February 13 (Branswell, 2020), providing further evidence that the failed U.S. response to the pandemic could have been prevented. Cuts to public health staff reduced the number of experts in leadership positions. Inaction in the early months of the pandemic led to critical shortages of medical equipment and supplies. Mixed messages and inconsistent policies undermined efforts to control and contain the disease. Unfortunately, the response to the disease in 2020 cannot be changed, but 2021 looks brighter. Most people who want the vaccine—nonexistent at the beginning of the pandemic and unavailable until recently—will have received it by the end of 2021. Americans will have experienced two years of living with the coronavirus, and everyone will have been affected in some way. end student sample text

annotated text Conclusion. The report concludes with a restatement of the main points given in the thesis and points to the future. end annotated text

Ballhaus, R., & Armour, S. (2020, April 22). Health chief’s early missteps set back coronavirus response. Wall Street Journal .

Branswell, H. (2020, May 26). New research rewrites history of when COVID-19 took off in the U.S.—and points to missed chances to stop it . STAT.

COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic . (2021, January 13). Worldometer.

Goodman, R., & Schulkin, D. (2020, November 3). Timeline of the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. response . Just Security.

Miller, G., & Nakashima, E. (2020, April 27). President’s intelligence briefing book repeatedly cited virus threat. Washington Post .

Sun, L. H. (2018, May 10). Top White House official in charge of pandemic response exits abruptly. Washington Post .

Swaine, J. (2020, April 3). Federal government spent millions to ramp up mask readiness, but that isn’t helping now. Washington Post .

annotated text References Page in APA Style. All sources cited in the text of the report, and only those sources, are listed in alphabetical order with full publication information. See the Handbook for more on APA documentation style. end annotated text

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The dissertation journey during the COVID-19 pandemic: Crisis or opportunity?

Despite dissertation's significance in enhancing the quality of scholarly outputs in tourism and hospitality fields, insufficient research investigates the challenges and disruptions students experience amidst a public health crisis. This study aims to fill the research gaps and integrate attribution and self-efficacy theories to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic influences students' decision-making and behaviours during the dissertation writing process. Qualitative exploration with 15 graduate students was conducted. The results indicate that adjustment of data collection approaches was the most shared external challenge, while students' religious background and desire for publishing COVID related topics were primary internal motivations.

1. Introduction

Dissertation writing is an essential part of academic life for graduate students ( Yusuf, 2018 ). By writing the dissertation, students can build research skills to analyse new data and generate innovative concepts to inform future scientific studies ( Fadhly et al., 2018 ; Keshavarz & Shekari, 2020 ). Therefore, scholars in higher education are dedicated to guiding students to complete impactful dissertations. Duffy et al. (2018) note that thesis advisors can empower students to explore novel ideas and identify new products or services for the tourism and hospitality industry beyond the traditional contribution of extending the existing research literature. Namely, the intriguing ideas proposed in students’ dissertations will eventually enrich and diversify the literature in the tourism and hospitality academia. Furthermore, the process of identifying impactful ideas will prepare students for a successful career either as a researcher or practitioner.

However, dissertation writing can be a challenging experience for both native and non-native writers. Students are sometimes confused about the characteristics of the dissertation or the expectations from the academics and practitioners ( Bitchener et al., 2010 ). A graduate student has to make numerous decisions during the dissertation writing journey. To successfully guide the students through this complicated writing journey, thesis advisors need to understand the factors influencing students' writing motivation and decision-making process. Previous studies have suggested these influential factors can be broadly classified into external sources (e.g., advisor/supervisor's influence, trends in the field, or publishability of the topic) and internal sources (e.g., researcher's background or researcher interest; Fadhly et al., 2018 ; I'Anson & Smith, 2004 ; Keshavarz & Shekari, 2020 ). Despite this classification, the discussions related to the impacts of macro-environments, such as socio-cultural trends, economic conditions, or ecology and physical environments, on students' dissertation writing are extremely lacking. Since the time background and the world situation when writing a dissertation are also critical factors influencing students' writing goals, more research should be done to broaden students' dissertation writing experiences.

The COVID-19 pandemic has immensely impacted global education, students' learning, and research activities. According to Dwivedi et al. (2020) , the COVID-19 pandemic has affected international higher education leading to the closure of schools to control the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, Alvarado et al. (2021) found that the global health crises have seriously disrupted doctoral students' Dissertations in Practice (DiP). Specifically, students must learn new methodologies and adjust the research settings and sampling techniques because of virtual-only approaches. Some have to find new topics and research questions since the original one cannot be investigated during the quarantine period. However, students may turn this current crisis into an opportunity as they build a shared community and support each other's private and academic lives. Apparently, the crisis can result in a stronger bond of friendship, and this may generate more collaborative research projects in the future.

As mentioned earlier, some studies have tried to identify factors influencing students' dissertation writing journey, albeit lack considerations related to the effects of macro-environments. Given the severe impacts of COVID-19 on the macro-environments of global higher education and the tourism industry, this study aims to fill the research gap and explore how a public health crisis may influence graduate students' dissertation writing, especially in the field of tourism and hospitality. Specifically, this study utilizes attribution and self-efficacy theory as the research framework to examine the internal and external factors that influenced graduate students' dissertation journey amidst the COVID-19 pandemic (see Fig. 1 ). The use of attribution and self-efficacy theory is appropriate in the current study because both explain how people make sense of society, influences of others, their decision-making process and behaviours. Although some may argue these theories are outdated, many scholars have used them to explain students' behaviours and experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Xu et al. (2021) found that social capital and learning support positively influence students' self-efficacy, employability and well-being amidst the crisis. Meanwhile, Lassoued et al. (2020) used attribution theory to explore the university professors and their students' learning experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. They found that both groups attributed the problems to reaching high quality in distance learning to students' weak motivation to understand abstract concepts in the absence of in-person interaction.

Fig. 1

The theoretical framework.

Understanding the lived experience of students would enable stakeholders in tourism and hospitality education to deeply comprehend the plight and predicaments of students face and the innovate ways to mitigate those challenges amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, this study utilizes a qualitative approach to explore the impacts of internal and extremal factors on the dissertation writing process. The study was set in the context of an international graduate hospitality and tourism program in Taiwan known for its diverse student body. The research question that guides such qualitative exploration is: How have external and internal factors influenced graduate students’ dissertation writing journey during the COVID-19 pandemic?

This study is timely and critical considering the uncertainties that characterize pandemics which aggravates the already perplexities that associate dissertation writing. It throws light on factors that are susceptible to pandemic tendencies and factors that are resilient to crisis. The findings of this study would provide insights into how crises affect academia and suggest effective ways for higher educational institutions, academicians, and other key stakeholders to forge proactive solutions for future occurrences. Especially, higher education institutions would be well-positioned and informed on areas to train students and faculty members to ameliorate the impacts associated with pandemics.

2. Literature review

2.1. covid-19 and its impacts on educational activities.

Public health crises have ramifications for educational behaviour and choices; this is especially true of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most countries and institutions of higher education are still battling with the consequences suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic. Not surprisingly, there has been a tsunami of studies on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., Dwivedi et al., 2020 ; Manzano-Leon et al., 2021 ; Alam & Parvin, 2021 ). Assessing these studies, we found that although there are substantial extant studies on the negative implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, limited studies have also emphasised the positive side of the pandemic on education. For example, Dwivedi et al. (2020) concluded that the COVID-19 had revealed the necessity of online teaching in higher educational institutions. For they observed that at Loughborough, though face-to-face teaching is practised, one cannot relegate online teaching as some students will be unable to return to campus due to border closures. Thus, faculty members have to convert existing material to the online format. Furthermore, Manzano-Leon et al. (2021) also pointed out that the COVID-19 has allowed students to interact with their peers beyond traditional education. They pinpointed that playful learning strategies such as escape rooms enable students to interact well. Alam and Parvin (2021) also underscored students who studied during the COVID-19 pandemic performed better academically than those before. This finding suggests that online education is supposedly more active than face-to-face mode.

Apart from these positive implications aforementioned, most studies have emphasised the negative impacts of COVID-19 on education. Dwivedi et al. (2020) reviewed how the global higher education sector has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It caused the closure of schools, national lockdowns and social distancing, and a proliferation of online teaching. COVID-19 forced both teachers and students to work and study remotely from home. According to Dhawan (2020) , the rapid deployment of online learning to protect students, faculty, communities, societies, and nations affected academic life. Online learning seemed like a panacea in the face of COVID-19's severe symptoms; however, the switch to online also brought several challenges for teachers and students. Lall and Singh (2020) noted that disadvantages of online learning include the absence of co-curricular activities and students' lack of association with friends at school. Many studies have also confirmed the pandemic's adverse effects on students' mental health, emotional wellbeing, and academic performance ( Bao, 2020 ; de Oliveira Araújo et al., 2020 ).

Despite the pandemic has caused numerous difficulties for many educational institutions, scholars and educators have risen to the challenges and tried to plan effective strategies to mitigate such stressing circumstances. For example, to respond the needs of a better understanding of students' social-emotional competencies for coping the COVID-19 outbreak, Hadar et al. (2020) utilized the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) framework to analyse teachers and students' struggles. Each element of VUCA is defined as follows:

  • ● Volatility: the speed and magnitude of the crisis;
  • ● Uncertainty: the unpredictability of events during the crisis;
  • ● Complexity: the confounding events during the crisis;
  • ● Ambiguity: the confusing and mixed meanings during the crisis.

This analysis and conceptualization of crises help to explain some of the students’ concerns on mental health, emotional wellbeing, and academic performance ( Bao, 2020 ; de Oliveira Araújo et al., 2020 ).

The pandemic also exacerbated existing challenges facing students and universities across the globe. According to Rose-Redwood et al. (2020) , the COVID-19 endangered the career prospects of both students and scholars. University partnerships with the arts sector, community service, and non-governmental organizations also suffered. The tourism and hospitality (academic) field faced unique challenges in light of COVID-19 without exception. Forms of tourism such as over-tourism and cruise tourism were temporarily unobservable, and most pre-crisis studies and forecast data were no longer relevant ( Bausch et al., 2021 ). Consequently, many empirical and longitudinal studies were halted due to the incomparability of data. Even though many studies have been conducted to explore the impacts of the COVID pandemic on educational activities, none of these studies has addressed how this public health crisis has affected graduate students’ dissertation journey. Therefore, the present research is needed to fill the gaps in the mainstream literature.

2.2. Attribution theory and self-efficacy

The current study employs attribution theory and self-efficacy to understand graduate students' dissertation writing journeys. Attribution theory explains how individuals interpret behavioural outcomes ( Weiner, 2006 ) and has been used in education and crisis management ( Abraham et al., 2020 ; Sanders et al., 2020 ). For example, Chen and Wu (2021) used attribution theory to understand the effects of attributing students' academic achievements to giftedness. They found that attributing students' academic success to giftedness had a positive indirect relationship with their academic achievement through self-regulated learning and negative learning emotions. However, attribution theory has been criticised for its inability to explain a person's behaviour comprehensively. This is well enunciated by Bandura (1986) that attribution theory does not necessarily describe all influential factors related to a person's behaviour. Instead, it provides in-depth accounts of one's self-efficacy. Hence, scholars have advocated the need for integrating self-efficacy into attribution theory ( Hattie et al., 2020 ).

Self-efficacy is closely related to attribution theory. Extant studies have investigated the essence of self-efficacy in education and its role on students' achievements ( Bartimote-Aufflick et al., 2016 ; Hendricks, 2016 ). For instance, in their educational research and implications for music, Hendricks (2016) found that teachers can empower students' ability and achievement through positive self-efficacy beliefs. This is achieved through Bandura's (1986) theoretical four sources of self-efficacy: vicarious experience, verbal/social persuasion, enactive mastery experience, and physiological and affective states. The current study integrates attribution theory and self-efficacy as the research framework to provide intellectual rigour and reasons underlined students' decision-making during their dissertation journey.

2.3. Internal and external factors that influence dissertation writing processes

This study considered both internal and external factors affecting graduate students' dissertation journeys in line with attribution theory. Internal factors are actions or behaviours within an individual's control ( LaBelle & Martin, 2014 ; Weiner, 2006 ). Many studies have evolved and attributed dissertation topic selection to internal considerations. For instance, I'Anson and Smith's (2004) study found that personal interest and student ability were essential for undergraduate students' thesis topic selection. Keshavarz and Shekari (2020) also found that personal interest is the primary motivation for choosing a specific thesis topic. In another study focused on undergraduate students at the English department, Husin and Nurbayani (2017) revealed that students' language proficiency was a dominant internal factor for their dissertation choice decisions.

On the other hand, external factors are forces beyond an individual's control ( LaBelle & Martin, 2014 ). Similar to internal factors, there is an avalanche of studies that have evolved and uncovered external factors that characterize students' dissertation decisions in the pre-COVID period (e.g., de Kleijn et al., 2012 ; Huin; Nurbayani, 2017 ; Keshavarz & Shekari, 2020 ; Pemberton, 2012 ; Shu et al., 2016; Sverdlik et al., 2018 ). For instance, de Kleijn et al. (2012) found that supervisor influence is critical in the student dissertation writing process. They further revealed that an acceptable relationship between supervisor and student leads to a higher and quality outcome; however, a high level of influence could lead to low satisfaction. Meanwhile, Pemberton (2012) delved into the extent teachers influence students in their dissertation process and especially topic selection. This study further underlined that most supervisors assist students to select topics that will sustain their interest and competence level. Unlike previous research, Keshavarz and Shekari (2020) found that research operability or feasibility was a critical external factor that informed students' dissertation decisions. In other words, practicality and usefulness are essential in determining the dissertation choices.

These studies above show how internal and external factors may determine students' dissertation decisions. Despite those studies providing valuable knowledge to broaden our understanding of which factors may play significant role in students' dissertation journeys, most of their focus was on undergraduate students and was conducted before COVID-19. Given that the learning experiences among graduate and undergraduate students as well as before and during the pandemic may differ significantly, there is a need to investigate what specific external and internal factors underline graduate students’ dissertation decisions during the COVID-19. Are those factors different from or similar to previous findings?

3. Methodology

Previous studies have disproportionately employed quantitative approaches to examine students' dissertation topic choice (e.g., Keshavarz & Shekari, 2020 ). Although the quantitative method can aid the researcher to investigate focal phenomena among larger samples and generalize the results, it has also been criticized for the lack of in-depth analysis or does not allow respondents to share their lived experiences. Given the rapid evolution and uncertainty linked with the COVID-19 pandemic, the contextual and social factors may drive individuals to respond to such challenges differently. Therefore, efforts toward analyzing individual experiences during the public health crisis are necessary to tailor individual needs and local educational policy implementation ( Tremblay et al., 2021 ). Accordingly, the current study adopts a qualitative approach grounded in the interpretivism paradigm to explore the factors affecting graduate students’ dissertation research activities and understand the in-depth meaning of writing a dissertation.

3.1. Data collection

Since statistical representation is not the aim of qualitative research, the purposive sampling instead of probability sampling technique was used for this study ( Holloway & Wheeler, 2002 ). Graduate students who were composing their dissertation and could demonstrate a clear understanding on the issues under study are selected as the target research subjects. To gain a rich data, the sample selection in the current study considers background, dissertation writing status, and nationality to ensure a diversified data set ( Ritchie et al., 2014 ). Data was collected from graduate students in Taiwan who were currently writing their dissertations. Taiwan was chosen as the research site because the pandemic initially had a minor impact on Taiwan than on other economically developed countries ( Wang et al., 2020 ). In the first year (2019–2020) of their study, the graduate students could conduct their research projects without any restrictions. Therefore, traditional data collections and research processes, such as face-to-face interview techniques or onsite questionnaire distributions were generally taught and implemented in Taiwanese universities at that time. However, in their second year of the graduate program (2021), the COVID-19 cases surged, and the government identified some domestic infection clusters in Taiwan. Thus, the ministry of education ordered universities to suspend in-person instruction and move to online classes from home as part of a national level 3 COVID-19 alert. Many graduate students have to modify their data collection plan and learn different software to overcome the challenges of new and stricter rules. As they have experienced the sudden and unexpected change caused by the COVID-19 in their dissertation writing journey, Taiwanese graduate students are deemed as suitable research participants in this research.

Following Keshavarz and Shekari (2020) , interview questions were extracted from the literature review and developed into a semi-structured guide. Semi-structured interview was employed allowing for probing and clarifying explanations. This also allowed both the interviewer and the interviewee to become co-researchers (Ritchie et al., 2005). The questions asked about internal, and external factors influencing dissertation writing (including topic selection and methodology) during COVID-19. Specifically, students were asked how they chose their dissertation topic, how they felt COVID-19 had impacted their dissertation, and what significant events influenced their academic choices during the pandemic. Before each interview, the purpose of the study was explained and respondents provided informed consent. All the interviews were audio-recorded and later transcribed.

Interviews, lasting about 50–60 min, were conducted with 15 graduate students as data saturation was achieved after analysing 15 interviews. The saturation was confirmed by the repetition of statements like, “personal interest motivated me”, “my supervisor guided me to select a topic”, and “I changed my data collection procedure to online”.

3.2. Data analysis and trustworthiness

Before the formal interview, two educational experts who are familiar with qualitative research were solicited to validate the wording, semantics, and meanings of the interview questions. Then, a pilot test was conducted with three graduate students to check the clarity of the expression for every interview question and revise potentially confusing phrasing. Validity and trustworthiness were also achieved through the use of asking follow-up questions. The transcripts of formal interviews were analysed using Atlas.ti 9. Qualitative themes were developed following open, selective, and axial coding procedures ( Corbin & Strauss, 1990 ). Finally, the relationships among themes and codes were identified, facilitating the research findings and discussions.

In order to prevent biases from affecting the findings of the study, series of procedures were undertaken following previous qualitative research. First, multiple quotations from respondents underlined the research findings which meant the respondents' true perspectives and expressions were represented. Moreover, the analyses were done independently and there was peer checking among the authors. There was also member checking where themes found were redirected to respondents for verification. In addition, external validation of the themes was done by asking other graduate students who share similar characteristics for comparability assessment to make the findings transferable.

4. Results and discussion

4.1. profile of respondents.

Respondents were purposively drawn from diverse backgrounds (including nationality, gender, and programs) to enrich the research findings. The sample includes graduate students who began dissertation writing in Taiwan during the COVID-19 pandemic period. The majority of the respondents are female and from South East Asia. Table 1 provides background information of these interviewees.

Background information of study respondents.

4.2. Internal factors

As Table 2 depicts, the themes ascertained from the data analysis were categorised according to internal and external factors which underpin the attribution theory ( Weiner, 2006 ). In consonance with previous studies, graduate students’ dissertation writing during the pandemic was influenced by internal factors (i.e., personal interest and religious background) and external considerations (i.e., career aspirations, society improvement, language issues, supervisor influence, COVID-19 publishable topics, data collection challenges). The analyses of each factor are presented below.

Major themes and codes emerging from the data.

The most salient internal factors affecting dissertation topic selection were (1) personal interest and (2) religious background. For personal interest, respondent 1 expressed:

The first thing is that [it] comes from my interest. I'm currently working on solo female traveller [s], which is the market I want to study. So, the priority comes from my personal preference and to learn about this market no matter the external situation. I also think that this is due to how I was brought up. My parent nurtured me that way, and I love to do things independently, especially when travelling.

This finding is in line with previous studies such as Keshavarz and Shekari (2020) ; I’Anson and Smith (2004) , who emphasised the relevance of personal interest in students' dissertation decision-making. Informed by the self-efficacy and attribution theories, we found that students who attribute their decision-making on dissertation writing to internal factors (i.e., personal interest) have relatively high self-efficacy levels. As argued by Bandura (1977) , efficacy expectation is “the conviction that one can successfully execute the behaviour required to produce the outcomes” (p. 193). Namely, self-efficacy is determined by an individual's capability and ability to execute decisions independently, devoid of any external considerations. Despite the uncertainties and challenging circumstances amidst COVID-19, students who believe their ability and research skills usually adhere to their original dissertation topics and directions.

Religious consideration is another conspicuous factor informing graduate students' dissertation journey during the COVID-19 pandemic. As respondent 7 mentioned:

Islam has become my way of life. I am a Muslim. It is my daily life, so I like to research this. I was born into this faith, and I am inclined to explore Halal food. I feel committed to contributing my research to my faith no matter outside circumstances. Maybe if I combine it with academic (research), it will be easier to understand and easier to do.

Although not much has been seen regarding religious considerations in students' dissertation topic selection in previous studies, this research reveals religious background as a significant internal factor. From a sociology perspective, religious orientation and affiliation could affect individual behaviour ( Costen et al., 2013 ; Lee & Robbins, 1998 ), and academic decision-making is not an exception. Religious backgrounds are inherent in the socialisation process and could affect how a person behaves or how they make a particular decision. This premise is further accentuated by Costen et al. (2013) , who argued that social connectedness affects college students' ability to adjust to new environments and situations. Social connectedness guides feelings, thoughts, and behaviour in many human endeavours ( Lee & Robbins, 1998 ). Social connectedness and upbringing underpin peoples' personality traits and behavioural patterns. Therefore, this study has extended existing literature on factors that affect graduate students' decision-making on dissertation writing from a religious perspective, which is traceable to an individual's socialisation process. In other words, during crises, most students are inclined to make decisions on their dissertation writing which are informed by their social upbringing (socialisation).

4.3. External factors

As Table 2 indicates, abundant external factors inform graduate students’ decision-making on their dissertation writing process. Except for career aspirations, language concerns, and supervisor influences that previous studies have recognized ( Chu, 2015 ; Jensen, 2013 ; Keshavarz & Shekari, 2020 ; Lee & Deale, 2016 ; Tuomaala et al., 2014 ), some novel factors were identified from the data, such as “COVID-19 publishable topic” and “online data collection restrictions”.

Unlike extant studies that have bemoaned the negative impacts of the COVID on education ( Qiu et al., 2020 ; Sato et al., 2021 ), the current study revealed that graduate students were eager to research on topics that were related to COVID-19 to reflect the changes of the tourism industry and trends.

Initially, overtourism [was] a problem in my country, and I want to write a dissertation about it. However, there is no tourism at my research site because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, I had to change my topic to resilience because resilience is about overcoming a crisis. I had to discuss with my supervisor, and she suggested the way forward that I revise my topic to make it relevant and publishable due to the COVID-19 pandemic (respondent 8).

This response shows the unavoidable impacts of the COVID-19 on the research community. As Bausch et al. (2021) pointed out, tourism and hospitality scholars have to change their research directions because some forms of tourism such as overtourism and cruise tourism were temporarily unobservable amidst the pandemic. Thus, many pre-pandemic studies and forecast data were no longer relevant. However, the COVID-19 pandemic can bring some positive changes. Nowadays, the industry and academics shift their focus from pro-tourism to responsible tourism and conduct more research related to resilience. As Ting et al. (2021) suggested, “moving forward from the pandemic crisis, one of the leading roles of tourism scholars henceforth is to facilitate high-quality education and training to prepare future leaders and responsible tourism practitioners to contribute to responsible travel and tourism experiences.” (p. 6).

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has significant ramifications upon the research methods in hospitality and tourism. As respondent 1 denoted,

Because of [the] COVID-19 pandemic, there were certain limitations like I cannot analyse interviewee's body language due to social distancing … some interruptions when we conduct online interviews due to unstable internet connectivity, which would ultimately affect the flow of the conversation.

The adjustments of research methods also bring frustrations and anxiety to students. For instance, respondent 3 expressed: “I became anxious that I won't be able to collect data because of social distancing, which was implemented in Taiwan.” The volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) feelings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic significantly influences students' mood, thinking and behaviour ( Hadar et al., 2020 ).

Apparently, during crises, graduate students' decision-making on their dissertation writing was precipitated by external considerations beyond their control. Based on self-efficacy and attribution theory, the fear that characterises crises affects students' self-efficacy level and eagerness to resort to external entities (e.g., supervisor influences or difficulties in collecting data) to assuage their predicament. In other words, some students may have a low self-efficacy level during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was triggered by the negative impacts of the crisis. Furthermore, scholars may need to notice that COVID-19 is likely to affect conclusions drawn on studies undertaken during this period due to over-reliance on online data collection.

5. Conclusions and implications

Although numerous studies have been conducted to understand the influences of the COVID-19 crisis on educational activities, none of them focuses on the graduate student's dissertation writing journey. Given the significant contributions dissertations may make to advancing tourism and hospitality knowledge, this study aims to fill the gap and uses attribution and self-efficacy theories to explore how internal and external factors influenced graduate students' decision-making for dissertations amidst the crisis. Drawing on qualitative approaches with graduate students who began writing their dissertation during the COVID-19 period, the study provides insights into students' learning experiences and informs stakeholders in hospitality and tourism education to make better policies.

There are several findings worthy of discussion. Firstly, graduate students' sociological background (i.e., personal interest and religious background), which is inherent in an individual's socialisation processes, inform their decision-making in the dissertation processes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in line with the self-efficacy theory, which argues that an individual has the conviction that they have the necessary innate abilities to execute an outcome ( Bandura, 1977 ). Namely, respondents with high self-efficacy levels attributed their decisions to internal factors. Unlike previous studies' findings that personal interest was a factor that underpinned graduate students' decision-making ( I'Anson & Smith, 2004 ; Keshavarz & Shekari, 2020 ), it is observed that religious background is an additional factor that was evident and conspicuous during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secondly, the complexity and uncertainty that characterised the COVID-19 pandemic made emotion a dominant factor that affected graduate students’ dissertation journey and indirectly triggered other external factors that provoked behavioural adjustments among students. The trepidation and anxiety that COVID-19 has caused significantly affects the self-efficacy level of students and predisposes them to external considerations, such as the will of the supervisor or the difficulties in data collection, in their dissertation journey. This study paralleled previous research and revealed that respondents with low self-efficacy were influenced by external considerations more than individuals with high self-efficacy ( Bandura, 1977 ). However, this study highlights how a public health crisis accelerates students who have low self-efficacy to attribute their unsatisfactory academic life to the external environment, leading to depression and negative impacts on ideology ( Abood et al., 2020 ).

Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically influenced the direction of research and body of knowledge in tourism and hospitality. This is seen in the light of the influx of COVID-19 related research topics adapted by graduate students. Furthermore, over-reliance on online data collection approaches were observed in this research. Although online surveys and interviews have many advantages, such as low cost and no geographic restrictions, the results drawn from this approach frequently suffer from biased data and issues with reliability and validity. For example, Moss (2020) revealed that survey respondents from Amazon MTurk are mostly financially disadvantaged, significantly younger than the U.S. population, and predominantly female. As more and more students collect data from online survey platforms such as Amazon MTurk, dissertation advisors may need to question the representativeness of the study respondents in their students’ dissertation and the conclusions they make based on this population.

5.1. Theoretical implications and future study suggestions

This paper has extended the attribution and self-efficacy theories by revealing that a public health crisis moderates attributive factors that underpinned the decision-making of individuals. The integration of self-efficacy theory and attributive theory has proven to better unravel the behaviour of graduate students during the COVID-19 pandemic than solely utilizing one of them. The application and extension of the self-efficacy and attribution theories are rarely observed in the context of hospitality and tourism education, and thus, this study creates the foundation for future scholars to understand students’ attitudes and behaviour in our field.

The findings highlight some factors triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and have not been identified previously. For example, the religious background was a significant driver to selecting a particular research topic. This research also shows a shift in research direction to hot and publishable issues related to COVID-19. The utility of the dissertation becomes a significant consideration among graduate students. Additionally, emotion is recognized as another critical factor affecting the dissertation writing journey. The current study informs academia and the research community on the extent to which the COVID-19 would influence idea generation and the direction of research in the foreseeable future, as extant studies have overlooked this vital connection. Future studies should consider those factors when investigating relevant behaviours and experiences.

The time that the current study was done is likely to affect the findings. Therefore, it is recommended that future research explore graduate students’ dissertation journey in the post-COVID-19 era to ascertain whether there will be similarities or differences. This would help to give a comprehensive picture of the impacts of the COVID-19 on education. Moreover, the findings of this study cannot be generalised as it was undertaken at a particular Taiwanese institution. We recommend that quantitative research with larger samples could be conducted to facilitate the generalisation of the findings. Finally, it is suggested that a meta-analysis or systematic literature review on articles written on the COVID-19 pandemic and education could be done to further identify more influential factors related to the public health crisis and educational activities.

5.2. Practical implications for hospitality and tourism education

The findings revealed that negative emotion might trigger students' attribution to external factors that affected the dissertation journey. Thus, relevant stakeholders should develop strategies and innovate ways to ease the fears and anxieties of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study calls for immediate actions to prevent spillover effects on upcoming students. Faculty members, staff, and teachers should be trained on soft skills such as empathy, flexibility, and conflict solutions required by the hospitality and tourism industry.

Moreover, the thesis supervisors should notice students' over-reliance on online data collection due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As it may possibly affect the quality and findings of their students' dissertations, there should be sound and logical justification for this decision. Collecting data online should be backed by the appropriateness of the method and the research problem under study instead of the convenience of obtaining such data. There is an urgent need for students to be guided for innovative data collection methods. The school can turn the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity to improve the online teaching materials and equipment. The research programs may consider including more teaching hours on online research design or data collection procedures to bring positive discussions on the strengths of such approaches.

Credit author statement

Emmanuel Kwame Opoku: Conceptualization, Methodology, Formal analysis, Writing - Original Draft, Writing - Review & Editing, Project administration. Li-Hsin Chen: Conceptualization, Supervision, Review, Editing, Response to reviewers. Sam Yuan Permadi: Investigation, Visualization, Project administration.

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Home > Honors College > Honors Theses > 1912

Honors Theses

An analysis of the effects of covid-19 on students at the university of mississippi: family, careers, mental health.

Hannah Newbold Follow

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Integrated Marketing Communication

First Advisor

Second advisor.

Cynthia Joyce

Third Advisor

Marquita Smith

Relational Format


This study analyzes the effects of COVID-19 on students at the University of Mississippi. For students, COVID-19 changed the landscape of education, with classes and jobs going online. Students who graduated in May 2020 entered a poor job market and many ended up going to graduate school instead of finding a job. Access to medical and professional help was limited at the very beginning, with offices not taking patients or moving appointments to virtual only. This would require that each student needing help had to have access to quality internet service, which wasn’t always guaranteed, thus producing additional challenges.

These chapters, including a robust literature review of relevant sources, as well as a personal essay, consist further of interviews with students and mental health counselors conducted over the span of several months. These interviews were conducted and recorded over Zoom. The interviews were conducted with individuals who traveled in similar social circles as me. These previously existing relationships allowed the conversation to go deeper than before and allowed new levels of relationship. Emerging from these conversations were six overlapping themes: the importance of family, the need for health over career, the challenge of isolation, struggles with virtual education, assessing mental health, and facing the reality of a bright future not promised. Their revelations of deep academic challenges and fears about the future amid stories of devastating personal loss, produces a striking and complex picture of emerging strength.

Recommended Citation

Newbold, Hannah, "An Analysis Of The Effects Of COVID-19 On Students At The University of Mississippi: Family, Careers, Mental Health" (2021). Honors Theses . 1912.

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thesis title example about covid

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Completing a thesis is the capstone experience of the QMSS program. Students take this opportunity to apply the tools and methodologies developed through their coursework to questions of particular interest to them. The list of theses below demonstrates the broad array of substantive subject areas to which our graduates have applied their expertise.

The list is organized by the departmental affiliation of the faculty member who advised the thesis and the year in which it was completed. Though our program director has progressively advised more students we always encourage students to find additional advisors in our affiliate departments.


  • Should Personalization Be Optional in Paid Streaming Platforms?: Investigating User Data as an Indirect Compensation for Paid Streaming Platforms (2022)
  • The Influence of Live Streaming Ecommerce on Customer Engagement on the Social Media Platforms (2022)
  • An overview of the COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Small Businesses in the U.S (2022)
  • Exploring Key Predictors of Subsequent IPO Performance in the United States between 2016 -2021 (2022)
  • The relationship between executive incentives and corporate performance under the background of mixed reform—Based on the empirical analysis of A-share listed companies from 2016 to 2018 (2022)
  • How Sovereign Credit Rating Changes Impact Private Investment (2022)
  • Chinese Mutual Fund Manager Style Analysis Based on Natural Language Processing (2022)
  • The Influence of COVID-19 on Cryptocurrency Price (2022)
  • Does Weather matter on E-commerce? Weather and E-commerce consumer behavior of Americans in four U.S. cities (2021)
  • ModellingCFPB Consumer Complaint Topics Using Unsupervised Learning (2021)
  • Vote For The Environment: Quantitative characteristics of shareholder resolution votes on environmental issues (2021)
  • Social Capital’s Role in Accessing PPP Funds & the Evolving Nature of Online Lenders in the Small Business Ecosystem (2021)
  • Predicting stock returns with Twitter: A test of semi-strong form EMH (2017)
  • Who Receives Climate Finance and Why? A Quantitative Analysis of Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Funds Allocation during 2003-2013 (2014)
  • The American Dream—Deferred (2013)
  • Job Satisfaction and Employee Turnover Intention: What does Organizational Culture Have To Do With It? (2013)
  • What Factors Are Associated With Poor Households Engaging in Entrepreneurship? (2013)
  • Uncertainty in measuring Sustainable Development: An application for the Sustainability-adjusted HDI (2012)
  • Homeownership and Child Welfare in Unstable Times (2012)
  • On the Evaluation of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs (2012)
  • Financial Crisis and Bank Failure Prediction: Learning Lessons from the Great Recession (2011)
  • Starbucks and its Peers: Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Financial Performance (2011)
  • Statistical Arbitrage Strategies and Profit Potential in Commodity Futures Markets (2011)
  • An Approach to Lending with Heterogeneous Borrowers (2010)
  • Changes in Perceived Risk and Liquidity Shocks and Its Impact on Risk Premiums (2010)
  • Equity Risk Premium Puzzle and Investors' Behavioral Analysis: A Theoretical and Empirical Explanation from the Stock Markets in the U.S. & China (2010)
  • Investing in Microfinance: A Portfolio Optimization Approach (2010)
  • Empirical Analysis of Value Investing Strategy in Times of Subprime Mortgage Crisis 2007-08 (2009)
  • Two Engines of Monetary Policy: The Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank: Different Approaches. Different Results? (2008)
  • Searching for the "Sweet Spot": The Optimal Mix of Executive Compensation to Maximize Firm Performance (2005)
  • Differentials in Firm-Level Productivity and Corporate Governance: Evidence from Japanese Firm Data in 1998-2001 (2004) 
  • Where's the Brand Equity?: Further Investigations Into the Role of Brand Equity in Experiential, Luxury, and Other Products (2003)
  • An Account of Worth through Corporate Communication (2002)
  • Deciphering Federal Reserve Bank Statements Using Natural Language Processing (2022)
  • Gender Wage Gaps (2022)
  • The Relationship between the Overall Sentiment on Twitter and Stock Market Performance during COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 (2022)
  • The U.S. Stock Market’s Influence on China Stock Market between 2014 and the first half of 2019 (2022)
  • Social Protection and the SDGs: A Data-Driven Bayesian Network Analysis (2022)
  • Overeducation: The Effects of the Great Recession on the Labor Market (2021)
  • Investor Sentiment and Stock Returns: Evidence from China's A-Share Market (2021)
  • Difference-in-Differences Analysis (2017)
  • Rapid Transition: A Comparison of Subway Usage and Rent Data to Predict Gentrification in New York City (2017)
  • Female Labor Force Participation Rate and Economic Development: Time-Series Evidence in China (2016)
  • Linkage Between Stock and Commodity Markets' Volitility in Both the U.S. and China (2016)
  • Will Urbanization be the Next Economic Growth Engine for China? (2014)
  • Solar Electricity's Impact on Germany's Wholesale Electricity Market (2014)
  • How Does Quantitative Easing Policy Impact Emerging Markets: Evidence from the Effects on Long-Term Yields Structure of Hong Kong and Singapore (2014)
  • The Effect of Income Taxes in Mexico: Evidence and Implications for Permanent Taxpayers (2014)
  • Jumping on the Bandwagon: Conformity and Herd Behavior (2014)
  • Effects of War After War: A Quantitative Comparison of the Economic Performance of Jewish World War II Veterans to Non-Jewish World War II Veterans (2013)
  • Basel III Agreement: Will Higher & More Strictly Defined Capital Standards Impede on the Growth of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises? (2013)
  • Unemployment and Economic Growth in Peru: 2001-2012 (2013)
  • The Informal Market for Foreign Direct Investment: The Attractive Power of Country-Specific Characteristics (2012)
  • Evaluating the impact of the Workfare Income Supplement Scheme on Singapore's Labour Market (2012)
  • Innovation and Fiscal Decentralization in Transitional Economies (2012)
  • International Trade and Economic Growth: Evidence from Singapore (2012)
  • Economic Openness and Welfare Spending in Latin America (2012)
  • Assessing the Costs of Fractional Reserve Banking: A Theoretical Exposition and Examination of Post-Meiji Japan (2012)
  • Pricing Emerging Market Corporate Bonds: An Approach Using the CDS-Bond Basis Spread (2012)
  • The Geographical Distribution of Mixed-Income Housing in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Developments (2012)
  • An Economic Theory of Voting: Can we Explain, through Digital Inequalities, Why People Vote Less? (2011)
  • Super-Pornstar Economics: Investigating the Wage Premium for Pornstar-Escorts (2011) 
  • The Dynamic Linkages among International Stock Markets: The Case of BRICs and the U.S. (2011)
  • Revisiting the Financing Gap: An Empirical Test from 1965 to 2007 (2010)
  • Antitrust Law and the Promotion of Democracy and Economic Growth (2010)
  • An Analysis of Keynesian Economics (2010)
  • Who Will Pay to Reduce Global Warming?  A Multivariate Analysis of Concern, Efficacy, and Action (2010)
  • Wage Difference Between White, Non-White, Local, and International Professional Players in the NBA (2010)
  • Is Microlending Sustainable? Discerning the Relationship Between Microfinancial Participation, Measures of Acute Morbidity, and Expectations of the Characteristics of Village Organizations (2009)
  • Application of Multi-Attribute Utility Theory to Consumers' Choices about Environmentally Responsible Decisions (2009)
  • Trade Openness and Poverty Reduction: What is the Evidence? (2009)
  • Crude Oil Prices: Mean Reversion in the Spot? Futures Know the Future? (2008)
  • Evaluating the Impact of Supply-side Factors on Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: The Case of Nicaragua (2008)
  • Females: Less Likely to Be Entrepreneurs? A Multi-level Analysis of the Effect of Gender on Entrepreneurial Activity (2008)
  • Banking the Mexican Immigrant Population: Analysis of Profiling Variables (2008)
  • A Comparison of Microfranchising to Independent Microenterprises in Ghana (2008)
  • From Autarky to Free Trade: Will China Overtake the U.S. as the Major Trading Power in the Global Economy? (2006)
  • Cluster Patterns of Age and Racial/Ethnic Groups Within Privately Developed Section 8 HUD Rent Subsidy Properties in New York City (2004)
  • The Impact of Decimalization on Market Volatility and Liquidity (2004)
  • Strategic Delegation with Unobservable Incentive Contracts: An Experiment (2002)
  • Exchange Rate Market Pressure and The Quality of Governance (2001)

Public Health

  • Analysing the Performance of Supervised ML models in Breast Cancer Diagnosis  (2022)
  • Portability of Polygenic Scores for QuantitativeTraits using Continuous Genetic Distance in the UK Biobank (2021)
  • A Report on the Correlation between COVID-19 pandemic and Unemployment Rate through Visualization (2021)
  • Spatial Summary of Outdoor Dining and COVID-19 Rates in NYC (2021)
  • The COVID-19 Infodemic: Narratives from the US & India (2021)
  • Exploring the Experiences of People Living with HIV in the United States: Modelling Muscle Ache/Pain and Medicaid Expansion (2017)
  • An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: An Algorithm Using Non-Health Indicators to Predict Health Risks of an Individual (2017)
  • Does Racial Concordance in Clinical Encounters improve Providers’ Accessibility and Patients’ Satisfaction with Providers? (2016)
  • Proportionality of Death Sentences in Alabama (2014)
  • Zombies, Brains, and Tweets: The Neural and Emotional Correlates of Social Media (2013)
  • Asexuality as a Spectrum: A National Probability Sample Comparison to the Sexual Community in the UK (2013)
  • Parent-reported and Child Self-reported Symptoms of Psychiatric Disorder and their Relationships to Independent Living Skills in a Clinical Sample of Perinatally HIV-infected and Perinatally HIV-exposed but Uninfected Adolescents: An Exploratory Analysis (2013)
  • The Sperm Shopper: How Consumer Segments and Evolutionary Pyschology Shape Choice of Sperm Donor (2012)
  • Social Context and Impoverished Youths' General Health Outcomes: Community Disorder and Violence Predicting Self-Rated Health and Body Mass Index (2012)
  • Location Theory and the Supply of Primary Care Physicians in Rural America (2012)
  • Perception of Neighborhood Safety and Overweight/Obesity Status among Non-Metropolitan Adolescents in the U.S. (2011)
  • Factors Affecting the Extent of Depression Treatment (2011)
  • Beyond Gender Binary in Survey Design (2010)
  • Junk Food and BMI: A Look at Schools Banning Candy, Snacks, and Soft Drinks and the Effect on Fifth Graders' BMI (2009) 
  • Delivering Maternal Health: An Examination of Maternal Mortality on a National Scale (2008)
  • Public Health and the Conrad Visa Waiver Program (2007)
  • Alzheimer's Disease, Migration, and Social Environment: A Study of Caribbean Hispanics (2005)
  • The Influence of Physician Attributes on Cesarean Likelihood (2004)
  • Natural or Human-Made Disaster: Dimensions of Impact Measurement (2003)
  • Healthy Life Choices Project: Efficacy of Nutritional Intervention with  Normal Foods  and Cognitive/Behavioral Skill Building on HIV/AIDS Associated Diarrhea and Quality of Life (2002)

Political Science

  • Encouraging Voter Registration Among Minority Voters:  A Field Experiment Using Radio Advertisements (2022)
  • Public Opinion Transition in China: Evidence from Weibo (2022)
  • Gender and Co-sponsorship in U.S. Congress (2017)
  • Accessing Social Influences of Congressmen with Keyword Network (2016)
  • How presidential election in 2016 affects the stock market – A Twitter sentiment analysis perspective (2016)
  • Assessing Assessors: A Study on Anti-Corruption Strategies in New York City’s Property Tax System (2016)
  • Demographic Trends in Virginia 2013
  • The determinants of Party and Coalition Identification in Chile: The effect of long and short-term factors (2013)
  • Radical Moderation: Factors Affecting Support for Islamic Extremism (2012)
  • Accommodationists versus Hardliners in Slovakia: Correlates of Public Opinion on Selected Foreign Policy Topics 2004 - 2010 (2012)
  • Measurement and Belief: Determinants of Federal Funding for Public Diplomacy Programs (2010)
  • Consumerism and Political Connectedness in Socialist Czechoslovakia (2010) - History
  • Civilizations and Social Tolerance: A Multi-Level Analysis of 58 Countries (2008)
  • How Does the 1965 Immigration Act Matter? (2006)
  • 7200 Revolutions per Minute: An Economic Analysis of the Struggle between the Recording Industry and Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Networks (2005)
  • Classifying Myers-Briggs Personality Type based on Text (2021)
  • Hiding Behind the Computer Screen: Imposter Phenomenon in the Tech Industry (2022)
  • Relation between dark tourism on-site experience and visitors’ satisfaction (2022)
  • Evaluating the Impact of Self-perceptions of Creativity and DemographicFactors on Arts Participation: Evidence from the United States (2021)
  • Running head: QUEER HAPPINESS AND SUPPORTExamining Happiness in LGBTQ+ People and its Relationshipwith Worsened Parental Relationships After Coming Out (2021)
  • The Impact of Donating Behavior on the Level of Happiness (2021)
  • Predicting Social Value Orientation from Personal Information and Survey Metadata (2017)
  • All the Feels: Sentiment Analysis Between Emoji and Text (2017)
  • Social Media Interface and the Next Generation Cognitive Mapping in New York City (2016)
  • Is Prospective Memory Ability Flexible?  Manipulating Value to Increase Goal Significance (2011)
  • Will a Nation Be Happier with a More Even Income Distribution? (2007)
  • Behavioral Extensions to the Topology of Fear: A Gedankenexperimen (2007)
  • Psychological Control and Preschoolers' Externalizing and Internalizing Behaviors in China (2003)
  • Prevalence and success of diversity-and-inclusion projects on education crowdfunding platform  (2022)
  • Does gentrification cause the displacement of urban black populations?  (2022)
  • Feedback and Gender in the Workplace: Should You Expect Equal Evaluation from Men and Women?  (2021)
  • What are the determinants for art practitioners to choose self-employment? (2022)
  • An empirical research for studying the influence of star popularity on the box office of movies (2022)
  • Couple Dissolution Between Couples Who Meet Offline Versus Couples Who Meet Offline (2021)
  • Masculine Men Who Wear Makeup: Exploring the Evolving Masculinity (2021)
  • Do Individual Or Environmental Factors Play a Greater Role in Shaping the Intentions of Female High School Students to Enrol in STEM (2021) Programmes in University?:Evidence from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (2021)
  • COVID-19 Information Narrative Beliefs Across Social Media Platforms (2021)
  • Spatial Wage Penalty for Young Mothers: Exploring the Discrepancy of Education Return between Metro and Non-metro Areas (2016)
  • Inequality Matters: A new Empirical Framework for Studying the Impact of Rising Socioeconomic Inequality on the Poor (2016)
  • Immigration, Income, and Occupation: Peruvian Immigrants in the Chilean Labor Market (2014)
  • Preferring France's 35-Hour Workweek: The Effects of Media on Work-Life Balance Preference Formation (2014)
  • The Effect of College Education on Individual Social Trust in the United States– An Examination of the Causal Mechanisms (2013)
  • Socio-economic Inequality and Socio-emotional Relationship Quality: Cause and effect? (2013)
  • Examination of the Relationship between mother's employment status and one's family gender role attitudes (2012)
  • A Study of Materialism Level among Mid-Atlantic residents (2012)
  • Relation Recombination - A Sociological Patent Analysis (2012)
  • The Relationship between Religious Attitudes and Concern for the Environment (2012)
  • Marrying Down: The Gender Gap in Post-Secondary Completion & Education Hypogamy between 1960 and 2010 (2012)
  • 2.0 Social Networks Have an Impact on our Real Lives (2011)
  • Evidence of Ethnic Solidarity in Marriage Patterns of Hmong and Sino-Vietnamese in United States (2011)
  • What Explains the Racial Disparity in Employment Discrimination Case Outcomes? (2010)
  • Reading Race: The Changing Views of Human Difference in American History Textbooks, 1870-1930 (2010)
  • Satisfaction with Life (2010)
  • Entering the "Real World": An Empirical Investigation of College Graduates' Satisfaction with Life (2010)
  • The Relationship between the Establishment of Marine Protected Areas and Biomass Productivity of Municipal Fisheries in the Philippines (2010)
  • Performance Surveys, Citizen Respondents, and Satisfaction of Public Services: An Analysis of NYC Feedback Citywide Customer Survey (2009)
  • Analysis of Job Retention Programs of the Center for Employment Opportunities of the Formerly Incarcerated (2009)
  • The Intergenerational Transfer of Human Capital: The Role of Grandparents' Education in Grandchildren's Cognitive Abilities (2009)
  • Are Homicide Trends Fads? Diffusion Analysis of the Urban-rural Spillover Effects on Homicide Incidents from 1960-1990 in the South Atlantic States (2008) 
  • Rejection Sensitivity and the Contagious Effect of Mood Regulation in Romantic Couples (2008)
  • Women and the Homeostasis of the Inmate Population
  • An Examination of the Relationship between Government Funding Allocation and Services Provided by Nonprofit Organizations in Brooklyn and the Bronx, 1997-2000 (2007)
  • The Concurrent Validity of Maternal Self-report: The  Impact of Social Desirability on Substance Use and Prenatal Care (2006)
  • The Effect of Housing Programs on the Economic Outcomes: Utilizing Observation Study Results from Minnesota Family Investment Program (2005)
  • The Influences of Physician Attributes on Cesarean Likelihood (2004)
  • Effects of Unemployment, Female Labor Force Participation, and Divorce on Suicide in Turkey: A Durkheimian Evaluation in a non-Western Milieu (2004)
  • An Experimental Study of the Small World Problem (2002)
  • The Relationship between Welfare Participation and Social Support (2002)
  • Sound and Silence: A Structural Analysis of Conversation Topics (2002)
  • A Reexamination of the Police and Crime Relationship: The New Role Community Policing Plays in Crime Prevention (2001)
  • DNA Evidence in Court: Jurors, Statistical Training, and Pre-instruction in the Procedural Law (2001)
  • The Role of Race in Education: An Analysis of Children in Brazil (2001)

Statistics/Computer Science

  • Predicting Spotify's songs' popularity  (2022)
  • Hiding Behind the Computer Screen: Imposter Phenomenon in the Tech Industry  (2021)
  • An Unsupervised Learning Approach to Address Crime in Mexico, 2012 – 2016 (2017)
  • Imputation of a variable completely unobserved in one wave of a panel: father’s earnings in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (2016)

An Analysis of Pairwise Preference (2016)

  • Measuring Political Risk and Market Returns (2014)
  • Which Yelp Reviews will be Voted Useful?- Predicting the Number of Useful Votes Yelp Reviews will get using Machine Learning Algorithms (2014)
  • Polities and Size: Legitimizing or Limiting? (2013)
  • The Role of Domain Knowledge in Environmental Concern and Willingness-to-Pay for Environmental Protection: Results from a U.S. Survey of Public Opinion (2013)
  • The Power to Judge: Social Power Influences Moral Judgments of Simple and Complex Transgressions (2013)
  • A Time Series Analysis of Crime Rates and Concern for Crime in the United States: 1973-2010 (2012)
  • TV Gets Social: Evaluating Social Media Data to Explain Variability among Nielsen TV Ratings (2012)
  • Unit Root or Mean Reversion in Stock Index: Evidence from Nigeria (2010)
  • Homogeneity in Political Discussion Networks and its Factors (2007)
  • Why Shift Policy? (2006)
  • Point Detection for Poisson Disorder - Application in Earthquake Occurrence in Northern California, 1910 - 1999 (2004)
  • Stock Volatility and Economic Activity: A Causal Analysis (2004)
  • Strategic Information Transmission in Lobbying (2003)
  • Economic Theory and Happiness in Mexico: An Extension (2001)
  • Sales Forecasting Methods: A Consumer Products Company's Perspective (2001)
  • Soccer Teams Need to Win at Home: The Fans that Increase those Chances (2001)
  • The impact of school management on student performance  (2022)
  • An investigation of the relationship between educational attainment and COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy in the US  (2022)
  • Does Accountability Help or HinderSchools?: The Mississippi School Accountability Model and its Effect on School Performance (2021)
  • The Relationship between Education and Health (2021)
  • Quantifying Variation in American School Safety with Explainable Machine Learning:An Application of Machine Learning Feature Importances for the Social Sciences (2021)
  • Age, Gender, and Comorbidities Affect Prevalence of Dyscalculia and Dyslexia, A Large-Scale Study of Specific Learning Disabilities Among Chinese Children (2021)
  • Validation of Fitbit for use in Objective Measurement of Physical Activity and Sleep in Children and Adults (2014)
  • Do Experienced Principals Fare Better? Estimates of Principal Value-Added (2014)
  • Beyond the Test Score Gap: Non-Cognitive Skills, High School Graduation, and Post-Secondary Employment (2012)
  • The Impact of the Level of Native Language Proficiency on the Literacy Achievement of English Language Leisures (2012)
  • The Effect of School Building Design on Student Achievement (2011)
  • Measuring Universal Primary Education Using Household Survey Data: The Case of the Millennium Villages Project (2011)
  • An Additional Burden for Urban Schools: Teacher Transfer Policies and School Performance (2011)
  • Evaluating Dual Enrollment Programs: Do Location and Instructor Matter? (2010)
  • A Multi-level Growth-curve Analysis of the Association between Student Body Composition and English Literacy Development among Language Minority Students in New York City Public Schools (2010)
  • Methods Supporting Policies in Education Reform (2010)
  • Have Inclusionary Policies in Higher Education Really Helped?:  Looking at College Accessibility and the College-wage Premium, 1962-2007 (2010)
  • NCLB and Curriculum Standards: What Really Impacts Teachers' Decisions to Leave the Profession? (2010)
  • Exploring the Relationship between Video Games and Academic Achievement via Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Analyses (2009)
  • Racial Disparities in Collegiate Cognitive Gains: A Multi-level Analysis of Institutional Influences on Learning and its Equitable Distribution (2009)
  • Hoping for Higher Ed: The Differential Effects of Parental Expectations of Education Attainment (2009)
  • The Impact of Family Communication on Risk Behavior among Boston Public High School Students (2009)
  • Path Towards an Attainable Future: The Effect of College Access Programs on High School Dropout (2009)
  • Traditional vs. Non-traditional College Students and Future Job Satisfaction: A Statistical Approach (2008) 
  • A Multi-level Analysis of Student Assignment to Out-of-field and Uncertified High School Math Teachers: Implications for Educational Equity and Access (2008)
  • The Impact of Obesity on Education (2005)
  • The Gender Gap in Standardized Math Tests: Do the Gender Gaps in Math Self-concept and Other Affective Variables Contribute to the Gender Gap in Scores? (2004)
  • An Alternative Approach to Selection Bias in School Choice: Using Propensity Score Matching to Examine School Sector and Teacher Quality Impact on Educational Outcomes (2003)

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RTF | Rethinking The Future

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics

thesis title example about covid

The COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed everything globally and has affected the smallest parts of the remotest countries as well. There has been no way yet to put a cap on to this, and scientists and doctors across the world are trying hard to come up with any kind of solution. This pandemic being airborne, the risk is multi-fold and is increasing like wildfire with every passing day. Looking at its effects, the pandemic does not seem to be coming down in the coming immediate years. We thus need to alter our lives and lifestyles to fight it and for that, we need severe changes in our surroundings; our public spaces, markets, eating joints, shopping malls, etc. all need to strictly follow social distancing norms, hygiene, etc.

Below are a few ideas for a thesis concerning the global pandemic.

1. Public spaces and hygiene

There is a sheer need to make people aware of the importance of hygiene while being in public spaces. Certain manners in us need to change and for a better tomorrow, this is just a small step. Especially in a country like ours, with the nerve breaking densities, we need to be careful with these smaller steps to be safe and clean.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet1

2. Changes in public spaces after the pandemic

Our public spaces and their character is going to change and be pretty different than what it is now. Social distancing, use of sanitizers, face masks, etc. are going to turn these spaces into a new ball game altogether. New norms and guidelines will have to be in place to maintain these spaces in a civilized form.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet2

3. Development Control Regulations (DCR) as a medium to fight the pandemic

There is going to be a need to substantially change the formulation of the DCRs, the way we look at them, and the basis of their formulation. Norms like social distancing are going to be a vital part of the DCRs. Density control through urban form, ensuring clean and hygiene city level infrastructure, clean and safe public spaces, etc. will be new aspects to detail out while framing the DCRs.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet3

4. Housing typologies and their characters

We have to be extra careful and cautious while inviting people over to our place henceforth. You never know where they come from, how they travel, the things they have touched on the way to your place, etc. Thus the design of our housing apartments will have to be revised. Restricting certain groups of people at a particular point in the building premise, making sure they clean or sanitize themselves before entering the building, restricting the number of guests at a time for a family, ensuring that no person enters or leaves the building premises without following the instructions, etc. are a few things to be kept in mind.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet4

5. Staggering of working hours

This has been a need of the hour for a while and now the pandemic has just made it an urgency. The surge in densities across the globe has made it the only choice left. It is not the ultimate solution; just a means to reduce the danger and harm to life. Staggering in work timings will not only reduce the number of people at a time in the office space but also will drastically reflect in the public transportation system, roads, at cafeterias, at all other allied spaces.

6. Design of workspaces

Workspaces will have to function differently once the lockdown lifts and the routine begins; we need to be careful enough at our respective workspaces as well. Screening and primary sanitization will be a must. Recurring cleaning of self and the concept of distancing while being in the same space will have to be executed and made into a regular practice.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet5

7. Design of play areas

Controlling kids and making them follow discipline is a mammoth task. But for their safety and health, we need to bring in definite rules and regulations to design the spaces they use daily. Cleanliness and sanitization of the spaces they use, the playing equipment, provision of hand wash, use of face masks, etc. There will have to be restrictions for timings for which the play areas would be open, to limit the number of people.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet6

8. Sanitization of residential buildings, surroundings, and interior spaces

Sanitization of our immediate surroundings is an important precaution to be taken at this time of the pandemic. Keeping our own house clean and sanitized, our apartment, our building, and its surrounding, etc. matters a lot. People entering and leaving the building need to be thoroughly sanitized and screened. There has to be a means to cap the number of guests coming to visit us, and vice versa. Routine habits like washing of hands, wearing face masks while stepping out, etc, need to be strictly followed by everyone. Special care has to be taken with house helps and their sanitization. At the same time, we need to be human towards them while doing so.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet7

9. Pedestrianization in the time of corona

The lockdown had forced us to stay back in our houses and it has tested our patience big time. Going out for a mere walk can be so refreshing, and help us be more productive at work. But people do not seem to understand the fact that the lockdown has been lifted to keep the economy in place, not because the danger of the pandemic has ceased. Social distancing needs to be strictly practiced and noncompliance to the same has to be severely penalized. There is a need to provide sanitation infrastructure at public plazas, promenades, and other walking/running tracks. There have to be some means to monitor people at these places. Pedestrian areas need to be safely barricaded from vehicular roads for better safety. Have timings for people to use these pedestrian walkways. People need to follow the same even on the streets and in their daily pedestrian commute.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet8

10. Public transportation and its effects during the pandemic and ways to fight the same

The modes of public transport are most susceptible to the spread of such diseases. There is a dire need to keep all public transportation modes clean and well sanitized. Restricting the number of people, allowing only essential service people as a priority are few of the many possible means to reduce the risk of spread. Increasing the frequency, using more feeder systems, etc, can be more helpful. A lot of human behavior will have to be documented and reflected upon while working on this topic.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet9

11. Reconceptualization of restaurants and street eateries

After lifting the lockdown, when the eateries and restaurants are open, people must be careful visiting the same. apart from the basic sanitization precautions, the restaurants will have to keep a basic check on expiry dates of food products, cleanliness in the kitchen, cleaning, and sanitization of the people working in the restaurants, screening, and sanitization of customers, distancing criteria, etc. On-street eateries will have to take the same efforts. Basic hand washing must be mandatory and must follow the social distancing norms.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet10

12. Street shopping after the pandemic

Street shopping will never be the same experience post the pandemic times. There will have to be a lot of discipline and formalization in the process, which itself is contradictory to the activity. But for safety reasons, it will have to be done. New guidelines have to be in place to allow street shopping in designated areas only. Timings will have to be strictly followed. The vendors and customers both should be aware of the practices of sanitizing and social distancing and they should follow them sincerely.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet11

13. Effect on commercial activities in slums and other dense neighborhoods

A lot of small scales of commercial and industrial activities happen in the densely populated and compact urban fabric of slums. These provide a substantial amount of employment to the people in these settlements. There has to be an adequate screening of goods coming out from the settlement and the raw materials entering in. There has to be the provision of hand sanitizers, hand wash, face masks, and other necessary safety equipment for the workers. Transportation of goods has to be done in a similar sanitized manner.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet12

14. Re-emerging commerce through shopping malls and other enclosed public spaces and its effects on human life

As we know the shopping malls and other public spaces were shut down for over three months now, to curb the spread of the pandemic by limiting people in public areas. But with the reopening of the same, the chances of the disease spreading are going to be spiked up. So it has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Before they are set to open for the public, there should be rules and guidelines in place to be followed to reduce the risk of life. Opening shopping areas in different stages or phases might be a good idea, to begin with.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet13

15. Social distancing in dense neighborhoods

As we are aware of the brawling densities in our country, we also know that it is difficult to practice social distancing in certain areas. The houses are so cramped up and tightly held together, it’s practically impossible to follow things like social distancing. Also, these neighborhoods are damp, crowded, unhygienic, and perfect breeding grounds for any disease. It will be a task to get things under control in these neighborhoods and at the city level as well.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet14

16. Guidelines for the celebration of festivals and other public gatherings

No celebration or festival in India happens without a massive crowd. Festivals in India are just another definition of a public gathering. With the current situation around, any gathering of people is likely to be dangerous and risky. But we want to celebrate our festivals as well. Just a few days back there were articles about the Jagannath Rath yatra, and how it had to be canceled for the safety of the people. There is a need to have guidelines. There is a need to have a designated area for such celebrations, well barricaded, sanitized, clean, and allowing a limited number of people at a time only. There have to be regulations in place to manage situations like these. We also need to incorporate certain behavioral changes for the betterment of society. All of these have to be considered and addressed.

20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet15

17. Segregation of essential and non-essential services and prioritization of the same

Essential services like medical healthcare, traffic department, the police, banks, etc. are trying their best to provide the best possible services to the people even in the time of the pandemic. It would be better to segregate the essential services from the nonessential ones. It will help in controlling the spread of the disease. Also, priority should be given to the ones working in the essential services as they are the heroes doing more than their bit for us all. They deserve their share of security and safety. For example, the Mumbai local trains have recently started service for the essential service workers, for their ease of commute, which is a good initiative.

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18. Redesign of markets

Markets or bazaars in an Indian context are other public gatherings of a massive scale. With almost entire neighborhoods pouring in, there is a doubt of how it will function once it reopens post the lockdown. There have been images circulated showing circles marked in front of the stalls to demarcate the three feet distance to be kept between two people as a norm, which is a good start. Similar measures can be taken and the markets can be redesigned in a way to accommodate these norms and guidelines.

thesis title example about covid

19. Affordable sanitizing equipment

It is observed that in a crisis like this, it is the lowermost sector of the society that gets affected the most. The daily wage workers, site workers, household helps, etc. The government will have to incentivize the supply of these basic sanitation facilities and make sure all the lower class gets it at an affordable rate. There could be regulations and policies for the distribution of the same in this class of people.

20. Primary health care during and after the pandemic

It has been observed that the primary healthcare that we have, is not at all adequate to take care of our population. This pandemic has exposed this ugly side to us right in the beginning. The shortage of beds in hospitals, a shortage of primary healthcare workers, shortage of medicines, etc. is something that our country needs to work on. It is not an overnight process and there will have to be long term planning to cope up with this need. Suitable policies and guidelines can help this happen smoothly and efficiently. Where to manufacture, how much to manufacture, at what cost to manufacture, and at what cost to sell the infrastructure, will all be important decisions to be taken by the authorities, sooner.

thesis title example about covid

As the global pandemic is wreaking havoc in the world right outside our doors, we have been planning measures to fight it and ways to keep it at a distance. It’s not the job of one profession or fraternity to come forward and take the responsibility to do this. Every single person must contribute in whichever way possible. For example, if ordered to stay indoors, individuals must understand the seriousness of the situation and follow the orders. It would be a much simpler job for the authorities to deal with the actual issue if people behave sensibly and take care of themselves at an individual level.

The pandemic has affected every corner of the world, and having a solution to it is going to take time. Every profession or fraternity can come up with ideas and solutions that can be implemented, to curb the effects of the spread of this disease.

It is a humble request to all to be human to one another at this time.

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20 Thesis ideas concerning Pandemics_Epidemics - Sheet1

An architect from Bombay, after graduation, he further studied Sustainable Architecture. Since then, he has been associated with a research organisation, working on urban development policies of Mumbai, Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI). Here, he has worked on projects that have strengthened his knowledge about the city. He is inclined towards researching public transportation alternatives, policies and infrastructure for pedestrians in cities, affordable housing, urban recreational spaces and non-conventional construction techniques.

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A Study on Students' Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic Through the Perspective of Mental Health Professionals

  • Masters Thesis
  • Hightower, Shelby
  • Navarro, Richard
  • Olson, Peter
  • Lim, Andrew
  • Education & Integrative Studies
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • pandemic lockdown 2020
  • mental health


  • CPP Education

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Items in ScholarWorks are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

  • Open access
  • Published: 21 March 2024

Stressors, emotions, and social support systems among respiratory nurses during the Omicron outbreak in China: a qualitative study

  • Wenzhen Yu 1 ,
  • Ying Zhang 1 ,
  • Yunyan Xianyu 1 &
  • Dan Cheng 1  

BMC Nursing volume  23 , Article number:  188 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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Metrics details

Respiratory nurses faced tremendous challenges when the Omicron variant spread rapidly in China from late 2022 to early 2023. An in-depth understanding of respiratory nurses’ experiences during challenging times can help to develop better management and support strategies. The present study was conducted to explore and describe the work experiences of nurses working in the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (PCCM) during the Omicron outbreak in China.

This study utilized a descriptive phenomenological method. Between January 9 and 22, 2023, semistructured and individual in-depth interviews were conducted with 11 respiratory nurses at a tertiary hospital in Wuhan, Hubei Province. A purposive sampling method was used to select the participants, and the sample size was determined based on data saturation. The data analysis was carried out using Colaizzi’s method.

Three themes with ten subthemes emerged: (a) multiple stressors (intense workload due to high variability in COVID patients; worry about not having enough ability and energy to care for critically ill patients; fighting for anxious clients, colleagues, and selves); (b) mixed emotions (feelings of loss and responsibility; feelings of frustration and achievement; feelings of nervousness and security); and (c) a perceived social support system (team cohesion; family support; head nurse leadership; and the impact of social media).

Nursing managers should be attentive to frontline nurses’ needs and occupational stress during novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreaks. Management should strengthen psychological and social support systems, optimize nursing leadership styles, and proactively consider the application of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and products in clinical care to improve the ability of nurses to effectively respond to future public health crises.

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As of January 29, 2023, more than 753 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally, with more than 6.8 million deaths [ 1 ]. The Omicron variant (Omicron, B.1.1.529) is one of the five World Health Organization (WHO) variants of concern (VOCs). Compared with other VOCs, the Omicron variant has significantly increased transmission and immune escape [ 2 ]. An analysis by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) revealed that from December 1, 2022, to early January 2023, Omicron BA.5.2 and BF.7 were the prevalent strains in China, with these two lineages accounting for 97.5% of all indigenous cases [ 3 ]. At the press conference of the Joint COVID-19 Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council on January 14, 2023, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 reached a peak of 1.63 million on January 5, and from December 8, 2022, to January 12, 2023, a total of 59,938 deaths related to hospitalizations due to COVID-19 occurred in medical institutions across the country. There were 5,503 deaths due to respiratory failure [ 4 ].

Nurses play a vital role in rescuing and treating COVID-19 patients. Nurses are at the forefront of the fight against disease, facing enormous physical and mental pressure while adopting effective strategies to overcome unprecedented challenges [ 5 – 6 ]. Research has shown that frontline nurses faced numerous challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. A systematic review and meta-analysis exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the prevalence of psychological symptoms among nurses showed that the pooled prevalence of anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance was 37%, 35% and 43%, respectively [ 7 ]. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the workload of frontline nurses also increased significantly due to multiple factors, such as increased patient requirements and work content, longer work hours, and a shortage of staff and personal protective equipment [ 8 – 9 ]. In addition, nurses also expressed feelings of helplessness and inadequacy because, despite hard work, they were unable to provide dignified and acceptable-quality care [ 10 ]. Therefore, it is necessary to emphasize the significance of support for nurses from governments, policy-makers, and nursing organizations to reduce the negative impacts on nurses’ well-being during and after a pandemic or epidemic [ 11 ]. Otherwise, nurses may feel burnout, leading to turnover [ 12 – 13 ].

Nevertheless, existing studies on frontline nurses’ work experiences have been conducted predominantly in the context of nurses as physically healthy individuals providing health care services to COVID-19 patients. With the rapid spread of the Omicron BA.5.2 and BF.7 variants, it was estimated that most of the Chinese population was infected in December 2023 [ 14 ]. It has been reported that the number of clinic visits due to fever in China peaked on December 23, 2023. Two weeks later, the number of critical hospitalizations for COVID-19 also peaked [ 4 ]. During that period, the challenges faced by nurses in China were unprecedented and vastly different from those of other nurses worldwide. Most nurses were both health care providers and infected patients. The present qualitative study aimed to explore the work experiences of frontline respiratory nurses during the Omicron epidemic, develop better nursing countermeasures and management strategies for managers and promote better support for frontline nurses to provide patients with higher-quality care in possible future outbreaks.

Study design

The present study adopted a qualitative descriptive phenomenological design to conduct in-depth interviews. This design is suitable for providing detailed descriptions of participants’ emotions, opinions, and experiences and interpreting the meaning of their behaviours [ 15 ].

Participants and setting

All participants were recruited from a tertiary hospital in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. A purposive sampling method was used in the present study. To obtain a wide range of experiences, we considered a diverse range of personal details, including age, sex, education level, marital status, years of nursing experience, professional title, type of employment, and workplace type, during the selection of participants. The sample size was determined based on data saturation [ 16 ].

The inclusion criteria were registered nurses working at the PCCM who provided direct care to COVID-19 patients between December 8, 2022, and January 8, 2023, and those who expressed willingness to participate in the study and share their experience. Nurse managers and nurses working less than two weeks during the abovementioned period were excluded.

Data collection

The data were collected through individual and face-to-face, in-depth interviews from January 9 to 22, 2023.

After a literature review and panel discussion, an interview guide was developed. Two pilot interviews were also conducted to investigate the appropriateness of the interview questions, and the guide remained the same. The data from the pilot interviews were not included in the analysis. All interviews were conducted by one researcher (first author), who completed a thorough and systematic study of qualitative research methods and reviewing skills before the start of the study. The final semistructured interview guide consisted of nine open-ended questions (see Supplementary file 1 ).

The interviewer and the participants had been colleagues for 3–7 years and trusted each other. The interviewer informed the participants about the purpose, voluntariness, anonymity, and confidentiality of the study one day before the interview and scheduled the time of the interview. Interviews were usually conducted on an afternoon when the participants were off duty, or an alternative time was arranged if the participants could not leave work on time. The interviews were conducted in a one-room office to ensure that the environment was quiet and undisturbed so that the participants could express their inner feelings to the interviewer with an open mind. With the participants’ permission, all interviews were audio-recorded using a digital voice recorder. The duration of the interviews varied between 30 and 60 min. Within 24 h of each interview, the audio-recorded data were fully transcribed, and two researchers independently evaluated the data saturation. Any disagreements were resolved through a panel discussion. Behavioural data (laughing, crying, sighing, silence or pausing, etc.) were also recorded during transcription for data analysis. Data saturation was reached at the 10th interview, but an additional interview was also conducted to ensure that no new information emerged. Therefore, a total of 11 respiratory nurses were recruited. None of the nurses dropped out of the study.

Data analysis

Colaizzi’s method was used to analyse the data [ 17 ]. This method involved the following steps: (a) Familiarization: rereading the transcripts verbatim multiple times to become familiar with the data; (b) Identifying significant statements: identifying and extracting meaningful statements relevant to the phenomenon; (c) Formulating meanings: formulating and encoding meanings from important statements; (d) Clustering themes: aggregating the encoded meanings into preliminary themes; (e) Developing an exhaustive description: providing a detailed description of each of the themes generated in step d with the addition of participants’ original statements; (f) Producing the fundamental structure: generating themes to reveal the basic structure of the phenomenon using short and condensed phrases; and (g) Verifying the fundamental structure: presenting the transcripts of the interviews, codes, and themes to the participants for feedback on whether their experience of the phenomenon had been accurately represented. Two independent researchers analysed the data simultaneously.

In this study, Lincoln and Guba’s criteria of credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability were utilized to ensure rigor [ 18 ]. The following strategies were implemented to achieve credible study findings: conducting semistructured, in-depth interviews with open-ended questions and field notes; transcribing audio-recorded data word-for-word and independently analysing the raw data by two researchers; and asking participants to provide feedback on the transcripts, codes, and themes. Transferability was established by considering maximum variations in participant characteristics and presenting appropriate participant quotes. To facilitate dependability and confirmability, several meetings were held among the researchers to discuss and identify codes, subthemes, and themes.

Ethical considerations

This study was approved by the research and ethics committees of Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University (Approval NO: WDRY2023-K031). Before the interviews, the details of the study, the expected risks and benefits, and the right to withdraw at any time was verbally explained to all participants, and written informed consent was obtained. After the interviews were transcribed, the participants’ names were deleted instead of their identities (A‒K). To ensure confidentiality and privacy, the text data were stored in a locked cabinet, and the audio data were stored on a password-protected computer.

Participant characteristics

A total of 11 nurses, including 10 females (90.9%) and 1 male (9.1%), were included. The mean age was 32.09 ± 5.45 years (range = 24–43 years), and the mean number of years of nursing experience was 10.36 ± 5.50 years (range = 3–21 years). The sociodemographic data are displayed in Table  1 .

Thematic results

Three major themes emerged: multiple stressors, mixed emotions, and a perceived social support system. Ten subthemes were identified. The findings are described in Fig.  1 .

figure 1

Themes and sub-themes of work experience for respiratory nurses during Omicron outbreak

Theme 1: Multiple Stressors

This theme focused on the workplace stressors experienced by respiratory nurses during the Omicron outbreak. Three subthemes were identified in this theme: intense workload due to high variability in COVID patients; worry about not having enough ability and energy to care for critically ill patients; and fighting for anxious clients, colleagues, and selves.

Intense workload due to high variability in COVID patients

Most participants reported a high level of work pressure, such as a high number of admissions, a high percentage of critical patients, rapid changes in patient conditions, and frequent resuscitations. As one participant said,

“For some time now, the RICU has been particularly busy. Every shift is filled with resuscitation cases and the admission of new critically ill patients, usually those who need to be intubated. We borrowed much equipment from the Equipment Division, such as ventilators and high-flow nasal cannula oxygen therapy devices. We usually have enough equipment in our Department, but now we do not.” (Participant G)

Almost all participants stated that the workload of nursing care associated with COVID-19 had significantly increased, and nurses often had to work overtime to complete their work. As two participants said,

“Almost all newly admitted patients are given nebulizers and oxygen and undergo urgent arterial blood gas analysis. I could not leave work on time almost daily (bitter smile).” (Participant C)
“There are many patients on oral corticosteroids, which is different than usual. I have to talk to the patients about the use and the dosage, tell them when to taper, and talk to the doctor before I give the medication. It all takes time.” (Participant I)

Another participant said the following:

“Except for nursing records, I get things done during working hours. Then, I spend off-duty time writing the records.” (Participant E)

Some participants reported working at an accelerated pace during the work period. One of the participants described their experience as follows:

“Patients ask me questions, and maybe I am fast in my speech and, well, fast enough in my steps.” (Participant D)

Most participants reported returning to work after taking a short break from their infections. However, they were still symptomatic when they returned to work. One participant said the following:

“I had three days of rest and came back to work when my fever was down, and my cough has not gone away yet.” (Participant A)

Worry about not having enough ability and energy to care for critically ill patients

Some of the participants in this study reported significant psychological distress from worrying about not having enough ability and energy to care for critically ill patients. The following excerpts illustrate this subtheme:

“There are many patients on invasive mechanical ventilation, and the biggest worry is accidental extubation. It is nerve-wracking.” (Participant F)
“Some patients are ventilated in the prone position; some are intubated, and some are not. Although the therapeutic efficacy was quite good, at least four colleagues were needed to change the position. It is a big risk at night when we are short-staffed, especially in a resuscitation situation.” (Participant G)
“I was worried about making mistakes. During that time, I had night sweats, did not sleep well, often felt weak and dizzy during the day, and was afraid that I would make a mistake while providing care because of my lack of concentration.” (Participant K)

Fighting for anxious clients, colleagues, and selves

In this study, most participants said that patients and their family members, doctors, other nurses, and themselves were experiencing negative emotions such as anxiety. Some participants expressed this as follows:

“In my communication with patients, I have noticed that many patients are anxious, so I do more explaining than before when I give patients medication. Many patients ask me if their disease is serious…” (Participant I)
“Some patients are transferred to the RICU when their condition deteriorates, and their families have no sight of them and are very anxious every day. There is also much pressure on the doctors.” (Participant G)
“For us young nurses who are faced with so many critically ill patients who experience rapid changes in their conditions, we often have to communicate with doctors, especially senior doctors. If (we are) inexperienced, communication is slightly difficult. Additionally, because everyone has been working for a long time, it is difficult to know whether (the staff) are irritated or can communicate well with their colleagues. Because after a long shift, they may all be experiencing negative emotions.” (Participant F)
“I am not sure if it is because of my illness or because of my work. I often dream about saving patients, probably for both reasons… I hope the hospital will open a free psychiatric and sleep disorder clinic for us.” (Participant K)

Some participants mentioned maintaining a positive mindset through self-regulation and psychological suggestions as a stress management strategy and expressed the hope that managers would pay attention to the psychological states of frontline nurses and provide psychological support. One participant said,

“It is important to keep thinking positively. We are all in the same boat now (laughs). The other thing is to learn some relaxation techniques. Leaders should be aware of the psychological dynamics of nurses on the front line and provide psychological comfort.” (Participant F)

Theme 2: Mixed emotions

This theme focused on mixed emotional states, that is, the co-occurrence of positive and negative emotions in respiratory nurses during the Omicron outbreak. Within this theme, three subthemes were identified: feelings of loss and responsibility, feelings of frustration and achievement, and feelings of nervousness and security.

Feelings of loss and responsibility

Some of the participants in this study expressed a certain sense of loss. This feeling stemmed from nurses caring for patients, uncertain about when they might become infected, and their lack of a role in taking care of family. One of the participants said,

“There could still be a psychological setback. I went through the 2020 pandemic in Wuhan, and then I went to another city (to offer support) and witnessed another outbreak. Previously, we thought about how to protect ourselves while helping others. This time, it is unclear how to protect ourselves while treating others.” (Participant H)

Another participant said,

“My family members were infected. I was working hard and very busy, and I did not have the extra time or energy to care for them. My parents did not live with me, and I wanted to have time to get them some medicine and check on them. During that time, I was worried about their health because the risks for older people were high. I was worried that their health conditions would become more serious, and I was not caring for them.” (Participant I)

The majority of the participants in this study stated that they stayed in their jobs despite experiencing substantial and multiple pressures because of a sense of responsibility. One participant, who was asymptomatic and not sure if he was infected, said the following:

“I think we have to work and stick to the job. First, we have to go to work according to the schedule, which is the most important point, the duty. I cannot stay away from work just because I haven’t been infected. At this most critical point, running away at the first sign of difficulty is impossible. That is certainly not the right thing to do. The main thing is duty because that is one of the most fundamental qualities of an employee.” (Participant F)

Some participants who had symptoms indicated that their intention in returning to work without fully recovering was to allow other nurses to also have breaks. One participant mentioned,

“At the time, I had been off for 3 days. Some of my colleagues were just showing symptoms and had no breaks. I thought I should go to work so those colleagues could have breaks, so I picked myself up and came to work.” (Participant A)

Feelings of frustration and achievement

Some of the participants in this study reported that patient blaming made them feel frustrated. Some participants claimed that their frustration stemmed from not seeing a significant improvement in patient outcomes in the short term. Participants described their experiences as follows:

“When I came back to work after being sick, I had not fully recovered, and occasionally I moved a little slower. Some patients did not understand my situation. I felt despondent at that moment (tears).” (Participant A)
“It is very depressing. Intubated patients are difficult to wean from mechanical ventilation for an extended period, and even less severe patients still have symptoms.” (Participant G)

Most of the participants in this study reported feeling a sense of achievement. The reasons included receiving affirmation from patients or their families; noticing gradual improvement in patient conditions; being helpful to families, friends, or colleagues; and enhancing professional competence. The participants described their experiences as follows:

“Many patients expressed admiration for my hard work and understood the challenges I faced, some even telling me to take a break. Their empathy motivated me to continue making contributions.” (Participant D)
“When the patients were admitted, they were extremely unwell, struggling with speech and reluctant to move. Following treatment, they could eat independently, move about independently, and express gratitude for feeling better. Moments like this bring great happiness to me!” (Participant H)
“During this period, I received more calls from acquaintances for counselling and felt fulfilled. They asked questions, such as if azvudine was effective, and I could advise them on the optimal stage for taking medication. Consequently, I felt that I was valued and was motivated to be a respiratory nurse. We are also confident that the mortality rate in our ward is very low, and many patients have been discharged.” (Participant I)
“This experience can be considered a form of training, helping us develop specialized skills and gain personal insights. If we face a similar emergency in the future, we will possess greater knowledge and skills regarding how to tackle it.” (Participant F)

Feelings of nervousness and security

Some of the participants in this study expressed nervousness due to the fear of being infected and of passing the virus on to their family members. One participant who tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies described her feelings as follows:

“My workmates falling ill affected me. I did not know what the symptoms would be if I got it. It was that uncertainty. Therefore, going to work caused anxiety at the beginning of the outbreak. It is that feeling of not knowing if you will go down next… It is like there’s no escape.” (Participant H)

Another participant stated the following:

“I am feeling nervous. I am in daily contact with patients who have tested positive, and since I have elderly relatives and young children at home, I am more concerned about bringing the virus back with me. That is why, when I return home from work, I leave my clothes and shoes outside, and the first thing I do upon entering my home is shower. When I returned home, my children used to hug me, but I would say, “Stay back, stay back.” I had to take a shower before I embraced them. Will there be a second or third wave? Can elderly people and children withstand this? Will my health worsen over time?” (Participant B)

Some of the participants expressed that their work in the PCCM made them feel reassured:

“I feel that working in a hospital makes it easier to get help if I become infected. As a respiratory staff member, I feel safe.” (Participant K)
“ It is not really that worrying. I think I was in the PCCM, and if anything happened to me, everyone would save me. I’m in this department, and the backup is strong. ” (Participant C)

Theme 3: Perceived social support systems

The vast majority of participants talked about the social support systems they perceived and how these social support systems impacted them. Within this theme, four subthemes were identified: team cohesion, family support, head nurse leadership, and the impact of social media

Team cohesion

Most participants in this study reported that coworkers helped each other at work, comforted each other psychologically, and were more unified than before the epidemic. The following descriptions represented this subtheme:

“During that time, even though almost everyone was sick and very busy at work, the atmosphere in our department was amiable. Every time you were busy, others would come to help you, and so would I. No one slacked off or hid from work, and everyone worked hard. It was a positive boost because no one was dragging their feet.” (Participant B)
“In such a busy situation, our colleagues are more united. We help each other. It is more cohesive. Busier, but more in touch (smile).” (Participant C)
“After my colleagues got infected, they shared some of their feelings with me. It was not really that uncomfortable, so my mind quickly relaxed. When people’s symptoms subsided, their temperature dropped, or the pain in their bodies eased, you could sense their happiness. I also felt happy when I heard such news. I feel that this kind of happiness is different from usual.” (Participant H)

Family support

Some participants in this study indicated that the health and support of their families strongly supported them in focusing on fighting against the outbreak:

“My family was very supportive (laughs). Everyone was very supportive. They were trying to minimize my burden. Because I did not know if I was infected, but when they were infected, they drank water, took their own medicine, and took their temperature. They wore masks, and they disinfected at home. I think that this was also a kind of support. They did not delay buying food or cooking every day and did not stop cooking or eating just because they were lethargic after the infection. Therefore, I think that is a kind of support (laughs).” (Participant H)
“I think my family… my support system is stable (grin), so I think I would be fine (to work).” (Participant C)

Head nurse leadership

Some of the participants in this study indicated that the head nurses’ leadership had a significant impact on the nurses’ work experiences:

“Rational scheduling and decision-making by the nurse managers is important. Pairing senior nurses with junior nurses during scheduling can avoid several risks. It is also important to try to ensure that everyone gets enough rest while maximizing the potential of the frontline nurses.” (Participant F)
“One day, the on-call shift started. Zhang was on it, and she did not get a moment’s rest until the end of the shift, and neither did we. She came to help us. She helped everyone. Where we were busy, where she was, arranging that shift helped our whole team and individuals a lot.” (Participant B)
“Any shortage of supplies or equipment or emergency, just talk to the head nurse, and it all gets resolved, so it is not so draining to work.” (Participant D)

Impact of social media

In this study, some participants mentioned that social media use impacted their psychological feelings, as follows:

“There are some very positive short videos online. One of our colleagues and some well-known people have shared their personal experiences fighting the outbreak, and it has been helpful to see others actively confronting it.” (Participant H)

Some participants expressed the opposite view:

“It worries me a little bit because the reinfections that are rumoured online can be scary.” (Participant C).

This study describes the challenges faced by respiratory nurses caring for COVID-19 patients during the Omicron outbreak in China from late 2022 to early 2023. Specifically, the findings interpreted these experiences as multiple stressors, mixed emotions, and perceived social support systems.

Like in the study by Al Maqbali M [ 7 ], a significant proportion of participants in our study reported that they had psychological problems such as stress, anxiety, frustration, or sleep disturbance and expressed a need for psychological support. Falatah’s [ 12 ] study showed that nurses’ turnover intentions increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic compared with that before the pandemic, and stress, anxiety, and fear of disease were predictors of nurses’ turnover intentions. In contrast to those in other studies, the participants in our study expressed their sense of security, which stemmed from confidence in their own professional background and trust in their colleagues. A previous study emphasized that understanding the psychological needs of frontline nurses and providing them with tailored psychological support can improve their mental health status and promote quality responses to clinical nursing and public health emergencies [ 19 ]. In addition, a cross-sectional correlation study conducted by Hoşgör [ 20 ] revealed that there was a significant positive correlation between nurses’ psychological resilience and job performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings show that adopting strategies to improve the psychological resilience of nurses is helpful for optimizing the efficiency of nursing work and improving the quality of patient care. Therefore, during a public health crisis, nurse managers should assess the mental health status of frontline nurses in a timely manner, understand in depth the sources of pressure experienced by nurses, and establish psychological treatment teams to provide offline or online psychological support in the form of one-on-one or group support to improve the mental resilience and physical health of nurses.

In our study, participants described their sources of perceived social support, such as support from their teams, family members, head nurses, and social media. This social support helped them cope with the challenges during this difficult time and encouraged them to provide nursing care to the best of their ability. The participants had positive expressions and emotions when discussing their perceived social support systems. These findings are consistent with the findings of the Shen study [ 21 ], which revealed that the greater the level of social support, the better the psychological condition of nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, we strongly recommend that hospital managers regularly visit clinics, interact with frontline nurses, praise their vital role in dealing with the outbreak, and take comprehensive measures to increase value awareness, including compensation, honorary certificates, and publicly recognizing nurses’ contributions. In addition, visiting nurses on the frontline will help address difficulties such as shortages of equipment and human resources in the early stages of outbreaks.

Conversely, some participants in our study reported that rumours on social media about the serious consequences of reinfection negatively affected them. This may be related to the fact that most of the study participants were both patients and caregivers at the beginning of the outbreak. This points to the importance of leading public health experts being organized by the executive branch to provide evidence-based information to the public through social media.

Consistent with the findings of previous research [ 22 ], some participants described concerns not only about their own health but also about the health of their family members. This highlights the necessity of extending support for frontline nurses to their family members, including providing medicine and medical counselling. In addition, developing contingency plans to ensure the timeliness and accessibility of social support systems is an issue that managers must address.

The results of this study showed that flexible shift scheduling, active communication, timely resolution of problems, and close working cooperation with nurses played crucial roles in facilitating frontline nurses’ responses to the outbreak. Nursing managers are critical in maximizing the retention of nursing human resources and maintaining productivity and efficiency in health care organizations. Nursing leadership styles strongly influence nurses’ happiness and work environments. Niinihuhta [ 23 ] suggested that nurse leaders should use a supportive and relationship-focused leadership style. Another systematic review conducted by Cummings [ 24 ] provided robust evidence that relational leadership styles, such as transformational and authentic leadership styles, are significantly associated with improved outcomes, including outcomes regarding job satisfaction, employee-work relationships, employee health and well-being, the organizational environment and productivity.

In contrast, leadership focusing only on task completion is insufficient for achieving positive nursing health and workforce outcomes. As revealed in the scoping review conducted by Sihvola [ 25 ], nurse leaders should adopt a relational leadership style and positive communication to support nurse resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, as an extension of the relational leadership style, inclusive leadership could increase the psychological ownership of nurses and reduce turnover intentions [ 26 ].

Unlike in previous situations, most participants in our study had symptoms, such as coughing or weakness, while caring for their clients. Therefore, as the bellwether of frontline nursing caregivers, head nurses should consider the overall situation of hospital management when public health emergencies occur, pay attention to the needs of frontline nurses, consider nurses’ advice, tolerate nurses’ shortcomings and mistakes, and construct an organizational relationship with clear and transparent communication, updated information, flexible shift arrangements, and mutual trust among colleagues to achieve the common goals of organizations and individuals to defeat the pandemic.

According to the results of the present study, respiratory nurses generally work longer hours in the event of an outbreak. At the beginning of the outbreak, the care workload surged as a large number of patients flooded hospitals. As a result, the amount of time to required complete nursing records increased. Consequently, bedside care was commonly provided to patients during normal business hours, and care notes were commonly completed during off hours. In addition, staff shortages were exacerbated by the infection of most logistics staff, and nurses had to take over delivering meals to patients and transporting medical and living supplies.

To alleviate the acute shortage of nursing staff and improve the quality and efficiency of nursing care, attempts are being made worldwide to apply AI technology to care, including COVID-19 care. Kagiyama [ 27 ] reported that a telemedicine-based self-vital sign examination system could quickly and accurately obtain vital sign information by measuring and uploading COVID-19 patient data without the risk of spreading infections. Mairittha [ 28 ] integrated a spoken conversation system into a smartphone application for care records. They found that the method increased the documentation speed by approximately 58.3% compared to the traditional keyboard-based method. Alderden [ 29 ] explored an AI-based transparent machine learning model that could predict the risk of hospital-acquired pressure injuries in ICU patients with COVID-19. Other studies have shown that nurses already use AI to perform various tasks across multiple patient populations, such as assisting elderly patients or recovering patients with exercise and in pain management, communication, interviewing, and patient education [ 30 ]. Nurses should recognize the need using AI in care. Nurses should increase their awareness of AI development; actively communicate and collaborate with experts in related fields; and advocate for patient and nurse involvement in the design, implementation, and evaluation of all aspects of AI health technology to prepare for possible future public health events.


All participants in this study were from a tertiary hospital in Wuhan, China. Therefore, the results of the current study may not be generalizable to other settings. Despite we utilized purposive sampling method to ensure diversity of opinions, the majority of participants were female, which was due to the relatively small proportion of male nurse in China. In addition, although our interviews began one month after the start of the outbreak, they took place for two weeks, which may have influenced the views and expressions of the participants over time.

Respiratory department nurses provided insight into their work experiences during the Omicron outbreak in China from late 2022 to early 2023. Despite experiencing exhaustion, nurses continued to take care of COVID-19 patients with the sense of responsibility of “angels without wings.” Respiratory nurses also experienced a sense of accomplishment from helping patients and a sense of security from their professional backgrounds. The mutual help of team members, support from family members, leadership by head nurses, and influence of social media are essential factors supporting frontline respiratory nurses in the fight against COVID-19. Hospital administrators should pay attention to the pressure and needs of frontline nurses during epidemics, improve psychosocial support systems, optimize the leadership styles of nurse managers, and actively explore the use of AI in the field of clinical nursing to improve nurses’ abilities to respond to public health emergencies.


The findings of this study reveal the multiple stressors and mixed emotions encountered by frontline respiratory nurses in combating COVID-19, which is helpful for nurse managers to develop comprehensive strategies that mitigate the adverse impact of these stressors and the negative emotions on nurses’ well-being and augment the positive emotions’ influence on nurses’ work engagement. Moreover, the identification of the nurses perceived social support system would assist policy-makers and hospital administrators in formulating more tailored polices to enhance their support for frontline nurses. Additionally, the design and implementation of training programs focusing on respiratory intensive care for nurses and leadership skills for charge nurse, will play a crucial role in effectively responding to extreme pandemic events. Furthermore, the researchers recommend that more qualitative research be carried out in different medical institutions and that more male nurses be included to improve understanding of the phenomenon. It is also suggested that further research be conducted to explore the psychosocial support needs of frontline nurses and ultimately improve their mental and physical health and quality of care for COVID-19 patients.

Data availability

The datasets generated and/or analyzed in this study are not publicly available because the data contain individual participant information, but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Novel coronavirus disease 2019

Artificial intelligence

World Health Organization

Variants of concern

Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Respiratory intensive care unit

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The authors thank the participants in this study for sharing their experiences.

This study was supported by the Hubei key laboratory opening project of Health Commission of Hubei Province (2022KFH002) and general project of Health Commission of Hubei Province (WJ2021M150).

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Wenzhen Yu, Ying Zhang, Yunyan Xianyu & Dan Cheng

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W.Y., Y.Z., and D.C. conceptualized and designed the study. W.Y. collected the data. W.Y. and Y.Z. analyzed and interpreted the data. Y.X. acquired the funding and administered the projects. W.Y. wrote the original draft. W.Y., Y.Z., Y.X., and D.C. reviewed and edited the draft manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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This study was approved by the research and ethics committees of Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University (Approval NO: WDRY2023-K031). Before the interviews, all participants were verbally explained the details of the study, expected risks and benefits, and their right to withdraw at any time, and written informed consents were obtained. All the methods and procedures in this study are in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

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Yu, W., Zhang, Y., Xianyu, Y. et al. Stressors, emotions, and social support systems among respiratory nurses during the Omicron outbreak in China: a qualitative study. BMC Nurs 23 , 188 (2024).

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