Anne O'Reilly, Assistant Professor, Electronic Resources Librarian at LaGuardia Community College, who describes herself as "a budding romance researcher [...] interested in romance readership" needs help from romance readers willing to fill in a survey.
With "Romancing the Pandemic: Do Our Reading Habits Change During Times of Stress?" I hope to assess the reading habits of romance readers prior to the pandemic (before March 2020), during the pandemic, and as we return to normalcy (the present). If you could spend some time taking it, I'd really appreciate it.
The survey can be found here. She says it's been "approved by my institution’s (CUNY) IRB board" and she initially posted the request to a private IASPR Discord group I'm on, but I can't link to that directly.
A quick search shows there's been quite a bit of interest in romance reading during the pandemic. Book Riot, for example, carried out a survey in 2021 and in 2022 Oxford University Press published Reading Novels During the Covid-19 Pandemic by Ben Davies, Christina Lupton, and Johanne Gormsen Schmidt. Anne's survey, though, is trying to find out how reading may have changed over time up to the present. It aims:
to assess the reading habits of romance readers prior to the pandemic (before March 2020), during the pandemic, and as we return to normalcy (the present). It is the hope of this researcher to answer the following questions:
2.) Did these readers continue to read as much romance as we return to normalcy? Or are they reverting to reading habits prior to the pandemic?
3.) Did reading romance make readers feel better during the pandemic?
4.) Reading romance is usually deemed a “guilty pleasure.” Did that change during the pandemic? Now that we return to normalcy, has that guilt returned?
This researcher hopes the results of the survey may show that what we read and how much we read changes during times of great stress. It may also change the way we read when we are unable to access certain content (i.e., printed materials). Romance is often a genre that is not treated with as much credibility as other genres. If this survey reveals the broad range of readers seeking out the romance genre during times of uncertainty, would this perhaps elevate the genre?
As I mentioned, the full survey can be found here if you'd like to respond.