Collecting survey data among the 50+ population during the COVID-19 outbreak: The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)
While the COVID-19 crisis resulted in a vast number of new research projects springing up like mushrooms everywhere, it had severe consequences for ongoing survey research and in particular for running data collections. The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) was hit by the virus in the middle of its Wave 8 data collection, which had to be suspended in all 28 participating countries. Responding to the evolving crisis situation and taking steps to resume fieldwork was especially challenging for SHARE, since (1) the 50+ population is more severely affected by COVID-19 than younger age groups and (2) the measures taken by governments in response to the outbreak differed across the countries. Against this background, we discuss possible solutions for adaptations regarding the mode of data collection, questionnaire content, sample design, and actual fieldwork.