Handbook of Research Methods in Migration
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Handbook of Research Methods in Migration

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.
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Chapter 6: Interviewing Techniques for Migrant Minority Groups

Luis Sánchez-Ayala


Luis Sánchez-Ayala Any research attempt requires a serious engagement and the full comprehension of all the elements directly and indirectly related to the study. When the study involves human subjects, the research is a real challenge, more so if it involves interviewing members of minority migrant groups. This type of human subject represents a sensitive population and therefore special awareness is needed, not only because of the complexity related to human nature, but also because of the particularities of dealing with migrants who are considered, either by assertion or assignment, as minorities.1 Success in obtaining the necessary information when interviewing a migrant minority group depends on three factors. The first factor is the preparation that takes place prior to the interview process. The second factor is the application of the appropriate interview technique. The third factor is the proper analysis of the information. These factors can determine the interaction between the interviewer and the respondent, and the quality and richness of the data gathered. The interview process of migrant populations and minority groups requires special attention. It is very important to keep open possibilities to fully engage in their everyday life, and to capture the complexity of social relations embedded in their daily experiences. However, the most important aspect when interviewing such groups is the way in which the interviewer identifies her- or himself and engages in the conversation with the potential interviewees. In other words, it is important to reflect on the ways in which the researcher could...

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