Session: Methodological Issues in Research with Refugees and Immigrants: Critical Discussions on Innovation, Intentionality, Diversity (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

231 Methodological Issues in Research with Refugees and Immigrants: Critical Discussions on Innovation, Intentionality, Diversity

Friday, January 22, 2021: 3:45 PM-4:45 PM
Cluster: Immigrants and Refugees
Symposium Organizer:
Karin Wachter, PhD, Arizona State University
Research methodologies with marginalized groups have been critically interrogated in scholarship, in terms of issues and challenges, such as best practices, ethical quandaries, and issues of rigor (Brown & Strega 2005). In this panel, we revisit such issues and challenges, focusing specifically on research with and about immigrants and refugees. We consider long-standing methodological issues that have been considered in such research, among them: recruitment, retention and sampling; access to informants and issues of distrust; interviewing approaches; reciprocity; consent for participation; authenticity of data; and cultural relevance (Lipson & Meleis 1989; Njie-Carr, Sabri & Messing 2019).

We consider methodological issues specifically within the current socio-political context. In light of heightened anti-refugee, anti- immigrant sentiment and restrictionist policies and demands for social justice, what new methodological issues arise in research, and what long-standing issues resurface as salient with renewed acuity and relevance? Also, given technological advances and within the new Covid19 era, how might we envision future directions in research with refugees and immigrants?

The panel offers a diverse range of methodological approaches that draw on both qualitative and quantitative data, as panelists discuss innovations and insights gained, as well as challenges, in implementing research. Our panelists discuss un/bracketing in qualitative research; ethnographic filmmaking along Mexicos migrant trail; political tensions entangled in measuring social support; and the life history calendar as alternative to the prospective longitudinal design.

The first panelists provide a methodological discussion of unbracketing employed in two qualitative studies with refugee communities. Presenters goals are to expand existing models of bracketing and to discuss transferability of unbracketing to various social work research contexts with forced migrants. The second panelist reflects on documentary film-making in the context of ethnographic fieldwork along the Central American migrant trail through Mexico. The panelist focuses in particular on tensions of publicity and secrecy that surround the work of making visible a social process that both depends on and suffers from invisibility. The third panelists consider methodological and political tensions embedded in a study to develop a culturally and contextually relevant social support scale for women in resettlement contexts. The presenters consider the complications and implications when methods intertwine with politics in research, specifically in light of the current administrations strategy to dismantle the resettlement program and the COVID-19 pandemic. The fourth panelists discuss the Life History Calendar (LHC), designed to collect lifecourse data retrospectively as alternative to the prospective longitudinal design. Drawing on two studies with immigrants and refugees, the panelists illustrate how LHC can account for linguistic, cultural and institutional diversity, along the migrant journey over time and place.

References: Lipson, J. & Meleis, A. (1989) Methodological issues in research with immigrants. Medical Anthropology, 12(1), 103-115. Brown, L. & Strega, S. (2005). Research as Resistance: Revisiting critical, indigenous and anti-oppressive approaches. Canadian Scholars Press. Njie-Carr, V., Sabri, B. & Messing, J. (2019). Methodological and ethical considerations in research with immigrant and refugee survivors of intimate partner violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

* noted as presenting author
Unbracketing in Qualitative Social Work Research with Refugee Communities: When Does Bracketing End?
Jessica Lee, PhD, Indiana University; Jillian Graves, PhD, Eastern Michigan University
Producing Border South: Documentary Film and Immigrant Rights Advocacy in Mexico
John Doering-White, PhD, University of South Carolina
Social Support Scale Development for Women in Resettlement: Methodological and Political Considerations
Karin Wachter, PhD, Arizona State University; Roseanne Schuster, PhD, Arizona State University; Godfred O. Boateng, PhD, The University of Texas at Arlington; Mary Bunn, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago
The Life History Calendar Method: Examining the Migrant Journey over Time and Place
Mieko Yoshihama, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Odessa Gonzalez Benson, PhD, MSW, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
See more of: Symposia