QE Data Challenge

2nd Annual QE Community Data Challenge: 

Life in the Time of Covid-19

“It was a lone voice in the middle of the ocean, but it was heard at great depth and great distance.”

― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

April 18 – 25, 2021

The QE community continues to be uniquely placed to help the world make sense of how society is reacting to this crisis and its effect on everyday life. Unfortunately, this pandemic continues to be a central concern in health care, politics, education, economics, and every aspect across the globe.

  • How do we as researchers unpack these reactions?
  • How is society changing in these times? 
  • How are those responses different between places?
  • What long-term shifts do we see? What patterns?

The 2nd Data challenge will take place over the course of one week in which members of the QE community will work in small teams to analyze pre-selected or newly created datasets related to education and COVID-19.

It is also an opportunity for people to interact with others in the QE community and collaborate on meaningful work; learn from each other about tools, methods, data; and collectively make an impact during a global crisis.

*A note about Márquez’s  “Love in the Time of Cholera” from Daniel Spikol, co-organizer: One can view the novel as a deep journey into the ethnography of love through the lens of the author at the turn of the last century. Due to Denmark’s pandemic situation, I had some extra time (to read some more novels this year, and this one of the books I had the chance to read.


If you are interested in participating, please register here!


By helping develop our understanding of this global crisis, participants in the COVID Data Challenge will also have a chance to:

  1. Meet and interact with other members of the community and collaborate on meaningful work 
  2. Learn from each other about tools, methods, data, and (of course) the issues in this global crisis
  3. Work with experienced mentors in the QE community.
  4. Begin a broader discussion of the wider social implications/applications of QE 
  5. Create publications or posters for ICQE or other conferences or journals; develop social media campaigns about important issues in the crisis; disseminate a YouTube or other video analyzing the crisis; create op-eds or other public journalism analyzing the crisis, or build an interactive website to let the broader public get a deeper understanding of our collective response to COVID-19 and its effects.

Timeline and Events

Registration and Teams

Registration for the Challenge is open until 11.59 pm Central European Time on Friday, April 16. Registration is easy! Just click here and tell us a little about your skills and interests to match you with a team.

Teams will be announced on Saturday, April 17.

Group Events

Sunday, April 18:  The Challenge starts with a kickoff meeting(s) on Zoom.

Wednesday, April 21: All teams will meet together on Zoom to present work in progress, “pitch”, and get feedback on their analysis plans, get help if needed, and share resources and ideas with other teams.  

Sunday, April 25: The Challenge ends with a final meeting(s) on Zoom where teams will share their final analyses and make plans for dissemination




There is no time when North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia are all at a reasonable time for people to work. So, given the number of participants, we are planning to break the challenge into two groups:

(1) North and South America, Australia, and Asia

(2) North and South America, Europe, and Africa

We will assign teams to each group when teams are formed on Saturday.

Splitting this way makes it possible to choose reasonable times for everyone, still, allows for multi-national and multi-regional teams, and also makes the Zoom meetings a little more manageable.

The overall meeting times will be: 

Euro/US timezones meetings: 12 noon in the Eastern US; 6 pm in Paris/Berlin/etc.

Asia Pacific/US timezones meetings: 8 pm in the Eastern US; 10 am +1 day in Sydney


Teams will have the opportunity to consult with dissemination experts about producing publications or posters, social media campaigns, videos, op-eds, or interactive websites to let the broader public get a deeper understanding of our collective response to COVID-19 and its effects.

Getting Involved:

You can also find out more about the data challenge and quantitative ethnography @QE_soc on Twitter
or by email: data <dot> challenge <at> qesoc <dot> org

You can see the first data challenge results and info here.


If you are interested in participating, please register here!