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ESRA 2023 Preliminary Glance Program


All time references are in CEST

Surveying Ukrainian Refugees in Europe: Implementation, Methods, Challenges, and Exchange of Experiences 1

Session Organisers Dr Jean Philippe Décieux (Federal Institure for Population Research)
Mrs Silvia Schwanhäuser (Institute for Employment Research)
TimeThursday 20 July, 09:00 - 10:30
Room U6-01a

Since the start of the war in the Ukraine, many Ukrainians became internally displaced people or sought refuge in the surrounding European countries. So far, nearly 10 million border crossings from Ukraine have been registered and more than 6 million individual refugees from Ukraine were recorded across Europe (27 July 2022). This massive displacement and inflow of refugees within a short period of time generally poses a significant challenge for local and national politics, administration and society of the refuge giving countries. Hence, there is a need for appropriate empirical evidence, in order to take efficient actions, grant needed support, and helping effective social integration.
In response to this growing demand, a large number of survey projects have been initiated in Europe. These projects all face special circumstances and conditions: On the one hand, Ukrainian refugees constitute a hard-to-reach survey population that is only insufficiently represented within common sampling frames, as they are allowed for a visa-free entry within the EU states and temporary admission without asylum procedures. Moreover, they are often accommodated by friends or family in the destination country and are highly mobile within their first months of arrival. On the other hand, they form a highly-digitalized group and mostly own a (mobile-)device to proceed web surveys.
We would like to bring projects surveying Ukrainian refugees together for an exchange of their experiences and to discuss survey methodological and practical challenges. We particularly encourage submissions that offer a perspective on the following dimensions of survey research:

• Different sampling strategies and approaches
• Approaches to reach the target population
• Different survey Designs and Modes
• Questionnaire design and translation
• Fieldwork organization and monitoring
• Attrition, follow-up rules, and experiences in tracing respondents’ return or onward migration
• Innovative tracking techniques for longitudinal designs

Keywords: hard-to-reach; refugee survey; sampling; probaility vs. non-probability sampling

Probability Sampling for a Study of Ukrainian Refugees in Germany

Dr Hans Walter Steinhauer (German Institute for Economic Research) - Presenting Author
Dr Jean Philippe Décieux (Federal Institute for Population Research)
Dr Andreas Ette (Federal Institute for Population Research)
Dr Manuel Siegert (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees)
Professor Sabine Zinn (German Institute for Economic Research)

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 millions of Ukrainians fled their country. By now more than one million of these have found refuge in Germany. Integrating such a large number of refugees is challenging. Although having learned from the refugee crisis in 2015 and after, this influx of Ukrainian refugees differs in many aspects concerning demographics, perceived acceptance, allocation, and migration flows. In order to learn about the recently arriving refugees, their needs, and resources, as well as challenges ahead, a survey allowing for generalization to this population was urgently needed. To ease this need quickly, we developed a novel sampling strategy to create a random sample for the population of Ukrainian refugees using of two different registers; namely the central register for foreigners (AZR) and the local residents register (EMR). Being able to access both registers allows for profiting from each registers’ advantages, while compensating their disadvantages. Having access to both registers, we were able to show that both consistently cover the population of Ukrainian refugees. Using information from the AZR allowed us to sample 100 municipalities at the first stage based on the number of Ukrainian refuges. Within each sampled municipality all refugees aged 18 to 70 were listed with their address from the corresponding EMR at the second stage. This resulted in a list consisting of addresses to sample from at the second stage. To minimize the risk of sampling multiple refugees from the same household we sorted the list by address and family name and implemented a systematic random sampling at the second stage. This sampling design results in an initial sample of 48,000 individuals in regions with a high density of Ukrainian refuges while also mapping the characteristics of the population.


Experiences of Displacement and Community: Surveying Ukrainians in a Small Town

Mr Thomas Hinz (University of Konstanz) - Presenting Author
Ms Valeriia Sazonova (KNU Kyiv)
Mr Taras Tsymbal (KNU Kyiv)

In this paper, we describe how the total population of Ukrainians living in a small town in Germany was approached to take part in a survey study on living conditions, choice of location, legal status, and other issues. The survey was fielded in December 2022, size of total population was N=966 (registered addresses). All members of the total population received an invitation in Ukrainian (and German) language to participate in the survey – either by returning a paper questionnaire by regular mail or scanning a QR code to start an online survey on mobile devices. In addition, we made use of local telegram chat channels of refugees to reach out for (further) potential participants. Since there is precise information about the composition of the total population, analyses first focus on selective mode choice (PAPI vs. online) and on potential selection bias of network recruiting as well. A side-effect of the research is that the administrative register as a source to connect to refugees can be evaluated. Besides basic socio-economic information, we addressed a variety of political and at least partly sensitive issues (e.g. a trauma short scale). The paper analyses if these topics trigger distinct reactions by survey mode and recruiting mode. In general, the paper contributes to the discussion how refugee population can be surveyed – without substantial biases.


Surveying forcibly displaced people from Ukraine – a data collection system for hard-to-reach populations

Mrs Sara Henriques (EUAA) - Presenting Author
Dr Constantinos Melachrinos (EUAA)
Dr Teddy Wilkin (EUAA)
Mr Anthony Albertinelli (EUAA)

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, several million people were forcibly displaced to the EU. Member states quickly deployed resources to provide a wide range of services to arriving families, and so information needs about this highly mobile population were simultaneously urgent and diverse. This exemplified the importance of having a permanent system to collect testimonies directly from displaced people to complement other data sources in enhancing situational awareness and supporting policy-making and rapid operational response to emerging crises.
In March 2022, the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) began preparations to launch a large-scale, multi-country, online survey to collect the profiles, needs, and intentions of recently displaced people from Ukraine to the EU. Building on experience from pilot studies since 2020, the Surveys with Arriving Migrants from Ukraine (SAM-UKR) was launched on 11 April 2022, after being adapted by in-house experts for the new target population, translated into Ukrainian and Russian by native speakers, and optimised for mobile devices. While several national-level surveys already exist, the SAM-UKR stands out by collecting standardised and comparable data across the EU.
Using a multi-channel dissemination approach: emails, websites, experts’ networks, social media, organisations in the field of migration, information sessions, posters and flyers at reception centres and information provision offices, more than 5000 responses from across all EU member states were collected between 11 April to 28 November 2022, with the results being updated in dashboards and analysed in a joint report with the IOM and the OECD.
Our proposal discusses challenges and lessons learned related to rapidly launching a survey in times of crisis and methodological aspects, including questionnaire design, data protection, ethics, translation, dissemination impact analysis, sample weighting strategy, collaboration with national initiatives, in addition to survey results.


Surveying hard-to-reach populations: Ukrainian refugees arriving in Vienna in 2022

Mr Bernhard Rengs (Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital)
Ms Ingrid Setz (Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital) - Presenting Author
Ms Ekaterina Pronizius (University of Vienna)
Ms Judith Kohlenberger (Vienna Vienna University of Economics and Business)
Ms Isabella Buber-Ennser (Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital)
Mr Bernhard Riederer (Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital)

Surveying Ukrainians who were forced from their homes fleeing the Russian military invasion is a major challenge. Not only are refugees in general a rare, vulnerable, and socially hidden group, but they are also characterized by a high degree of mobility. Moreover, the lack of lists of individuals that arrived recently, from which to draw (representative) samples is a challenge. In our paper, we document the design and implementation of an ad-hoc survey on Ukrainians arriving in Vienna/Austria (n=1,094) at the very early stages of the war and discuss how we attempted to address these issues. Specifically, we highlight four key challenges: approaches to reach the survey population, survey modes, potential for follow-up surveys, and fieldwork organization. To address the peculiarities of surveying Ukrainian refugees we followed multiple strategies. First, we chose a single location for data collection that allowed us to largely minimize the possibility of a coverage error bias. Yet, the field location was dynamic and required a high degree of flexibility for the research team. Second, we followed a multi-mode approach by using paper and pencil (PAPI) and computer-assisted web interviews (CAWI). For the latter, we created individual QRs which cannot be passed on or used more than once to prevent uncontrolled distribution or unintentional snowballing. Surprisingly, the PAPI option was not only chosen much more frequently but also resulted in much higher participation (76% vs. 42%) even when only CAWI was offered, despite the target group being considered highly digitized. Lastly, the field phase was assisted by interpreters. Having team members who speak Ukrainian and share a similar cultural background helped build trust and prevented any misunderstanding on both sides. We then present further methodological insights acquired before, during, and after data collection regarding the efficacy of the strategies.