Hanna E. Schneider Refugees Displacement Forced Migration Resettlement Researcher

Evaluating Methodological Challenges in Forced Migration Research

Tired of reading articles about methodological choices for forced migration research? Listen to this ESPMI Network podcast instead! The podcast is part of ESPMI’s wider ‘Critical Reflections on Migration Research’ podcast series and brings scholars together to discuss the challenges and evolution of methodological approaches to forced migration research.

In this episode, Katherine Mackinnon (University of Glasgow), Erin Goheen Glanvill (University of British Columbia) and me discuss research needs, data sources and methodological challenges that may arise when conducting fieldwork with refugees and other displaced persons. The podcast is moderated by Dacia Douhaibi (ESPMI Network).

Evaluating Methodological Challenges in Forced Migration Research

Podcast published on the ESPMI Network Blog on August 24, 2020. The recording can be accessed here.

The podcast includes three presentations of our individual work and experiences which are followed by a moderated discussion. In my presentation, I discuss various challenges (early career) researchers have to overcome when engaging in qualitative research with displaced persons.

I argue that researchers often spend considerable time on ‘grand’ issues like research design and research ethics to plan their field work. On the other hand, the nitty gritty details that render such fieldwork (im)possible are often overlooked. These include for instance logistical challenges, which may range from a general lack of access to respondents to traffic congestion. Permission from various public authorities, thus navigating between different political actors, and language barriers are also common challenges that need to be overcome. With regards to language barriers, (early career) scholars also need to keep in mind the time and efforts to find a suitable translator as well as the additional translating costs which are sometimes difficult to cover with a PhD budget.