Primary Care Research Is Hard to Do During COVID-19: Challenges and Solutions

Jodi Summers Holtrop, Melinda M. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conducting research in primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic is hard, due to baseline stresses on primary care, which have been compounded by the pandemic. We acknowledge and validate primary care researchers’ frustrations. Using our experience on over 15 indi-vidual projects during the pandemic we identify 3 key challenges to conducting primary care research: (1) practice delivery trickle-down effects, (2) limited/changing resources and procedures for research, and (3) a generally tense milieu in US society during the pandemic. We present strategies, informed by a set of questions, to help researchers decide how to address these challenges observed during our studies. In order to overcome and grow from these challenging times we encourage normalization and self-compassion, and encourage researchers and funders to embrace pragmatic and adaptive research designs as the circumstances with COVID-19 evolve over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-572
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • primary health care
  • research personnel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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