Pioneering Virtual Body Mapping: A Methodological Guide for Researchers Using a Health-Affected Population as an Example

Sara Santarossa 1 * , Ashley Redding 1, Dana Murphy 1

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp. 73-88

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The rapidity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing recognition of post-acute sequela of COVID-19 (PASC) or long COVID-19 has created a need to understand the experience of those suffering from this long-term sequela. The purpose of this research was to explore, and uplift lived experiences of patients with long COVID-19. This study had a total sample of 19 participants with long COVID-19 engaged in body mapping, an arts-based research method. Describing the novel virtual adaptations to the body mapping methodology is the focus of this article. The material presented provides researchers with a methodological road map by outlining the virtual adaptations in the preparation and facilitation of the body mapping process, sharing lessons learned in data collection, highlighting considerations for future studies, and summarizing the impact of the findings. Virtual body mapping sessions acted as powerful and emotional events where participants showed true vulnerability describing their experiences with COVID-19, their journey as a long hauler, their places of personal strength and courage, and their dreams for the future. Participants were highly engaged and interested in sharing their art with the broader community. Virtual body mapping is a novel approach to conducting qualitative research in a unique setting and can provide an opportunity for innovative knowledge dissemination activities. While this method may contribute to increased participation and engagement, it may also present challenges, such as lessened accountability and interaction.

Keywords: body mapping, arts-based research, methodology, health, long COVID-19, post-acute sequela of COVID-19.