CORENA 2021: Social science scholars’ contribution in facing COVID-19

By Siti Zulaikha Zukefli

GOMBAK, 7 December 2021: More than 35 submissions out of 31 presentations in today’s Communication Research Seminar (CORENA 2021) are related to COVID-19, Prof. Dato’ Sri Dr. Syed Arabi Idid said in his opening remarks at the seminar this morning.

He said that in early 2020, COVID-19 had emerged and the whole world came under attack.

“Companies collapsed, families lost their loved ones and this had caused misery and unhappiness to everyone. One must remember and recognise the individual family’s anxiety, anger and despair.” 

Prof. Syed Arabi said that COVID-19 is not only a medical and health concern, instead the pandemic had caused disruptions to nations across the world in social and economic sectors.

He said, “For example, citizens’ cooperation are required to observe the rules and the standard operating procedures (SOPs), and the government had to take drastic actions to cope with economic issues.” 

“As medical and health experts have been conducting research in all aspects of the disease resulting in discoveries of vaccines, social science scholars and experts such as sociologists, psychologists, and communication scholars are focusing on social aspects in the fight against COVID-19,” Prof. Syed Arabi added. 

In Malaysia, the professor said, social science scholars had presented papers during conferences and seminars to reflect their research findings and outcomes. 

For example, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) at the recent International Conference of Media and Communication on 23 November had reported 92 papers out of 27 works done on COVID-19.

Among the research areas and topics listed by Prof. Syed Arabi are those related to evaluation of government’s performance in managing the pandemic, the impact of lockdown and restriction movement, audience’s response towards COVID-19 vaccination programme, wearing of masks and sanitisation, audience analysis on fake news, impact of the pandemic on unemployment, domestic violence, and mental health issues.

Other papers concerned work from home, impact on education, online teaching among universities and schools using alternative methods of teaching and learning and online instructions, as well as issues affecting various institutions such as family, society, government and the economic sector.

Prof. Syed Arabi pointed out that social sciences have contributed their share towards the greater resilience of society in facing the pandemic as this branch of study has a greater understanding of society’s concerns and worries to help the government in mobilising the people to fight the pandemic.

“This is the contribution that social sciences have made to help society overcome the ravage of COVID-19,” Prof. Syed Arabi added. ***

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