Table of Contents

Handbook of Research Methods in Migration

Handbook of Research Methods in Migration

Elgar original reference

Edited by Carlos Vargas-Silva

Covering both qualitative and quantitative topics, the expert contributors in this Handbook explore fundamental issues of scientific logic, methodology and methods, through to practical applications of different techniques and approaches in migration research.

Chapter 15: Mixing Methods in Research on Diaspora Policies

Alan Gamlen

Subjects: development studies, development economics, development studies, migration, economics and finance, development economics, geography, research methods in geography, politics and public policy, migration, public policy, research methods in politics and public policy, research methods, qualitative research methods, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, migration, social policy in emerging countries, urban and regional studies, migration, research methods in urban and regional studies


Alan Gamlen1 Research on migration and migration policy has, until recently, focused almost exclusively on immigration. Yet every immigrant is also an emigrant, with ties to a place of origin – ties which are often shaped by the policies of migrants’ sending states. Thus, emigration states matter when it comes to migration policy, but they constitute a relatively new field of research. The main question here is: what types of methods are most appropriate for this kind of research? The main purpose of this chapter is to put forward mixed methods as a feasible and useful approach to such research on new areas of migration policy. It discusses the methodology of a research project which aimed to examine how states relate to emigrants and their descendants, why they do so in different ways and how they should do so better. A major aim of the project was to analyse the full range of sending states’ diaspora policies and investigate the hypothesis that various types of policy were much more widely spread than typically assumed. In order to do this, the research introduced the notion of an ‘emigration state system’, defined as a portion of the state system dedicated to the management of emigration and relations with emigrants and their descendants. This concept had the advantage of bringing together a fragmented case study literature on various aspects of state-diaspora relations under a single conceptual umbrella. The research itself involved a deliberate mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods. The central components were an...

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