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Design and measurement challenges in researching migrants 1

Coordinator 1Dr Agata Górny (University of Warsaw)
Coordinator 2Dr Joanna Napierała (University of Warsaw)
Coordinator 3Dr Justyna Salamońska (University of Warsaw)

Session Details

Growth in international mobility has been one of the reasons for the proliferation of research on the migrants. Yet, migrants are populations that pose particular challenges when being surveyed and administrative information about this group is scarce. Difficulties in studying mobile populations can occur at various stages of research design and fieldwork. In our session we would like to focus on the difficulties related to the design and measurement problems. In particular, we propose to map these challenges and provide a forum for a discussion on the ways to tackled them in practice. We would like to focus on challenges related e.g. in designing a longitudinal survey on migrants, to measuring some important migration-specific variables, such as migration events (e.g. trips), ethnic identification indicators, sensitive issues relating to migration (incomes, remittances, legal status), and others. These measurement problems augment in cross-national surveys, essential approach in studies on migrants, that are conducted in differentiated cultural, linguistic and institutional contexts. Additionally, survey traditions and specific answer scales that differ across countries make the harmonisation of data difficult. The measurement challenges intersect with modes of data collection. While majority of surveys on migrant groups are still conducted with the help of face to face interviews (PAPI or CAPI), web-based surveys are reaching in importance in these studies. An opportunity to reach mobile persons via internet opens up a new chapter in migration studies and creates an environment in which surveys can play a more important role in creation of data on migrants in cross-national perspective. Debate on the role of social media and usage of big data in this process paves the way for the future of surveying migrant groups. We invite migration scholars to contribute to the discussion about the future of the migration survey research by sharing their experiences in surveying those groups during our session.