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 13: Mapping Movements: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Migration Research

Pablo S. Bose


Pablo S. Bose For those who are interested in the complex, multifaceted, and often contradictory lives of migrants – in their many variations and manifestations – understanding their histories, their motivations, their behaviors, and indeed even identifying and enumerating them at all poses many challenges. How do we begin to understand what motivates people to migrate? How do we interpret and analyse the patterns of movement, exodus, and return that characterize population flows across the globe? What sorts of data do we need to gather in order to examine this behavior and these practices? How do we analyse the information that we gather and what do we do with the results? What kinds of both practical and ethical issues must we keep in mind when conducting our research into migration? There are of course many different traditions and disciplines that have engaged with such questions, many of them described in greater detail in other chapters of this handbook.1 In this chapter I will focus on interdisciplinary approaches that borrow from and build upon a diverse range of methodologies and methods in order to carry out this inquiry into the movement of populations and individuals. For researchers interested in the intersections between culture, space, and power implicit in the study of migration, the nuances and complexities of transitional and transnational lives require triangulating research strategies. This means relying on multiple instruments and methods to conduct our inquiries into populations that are often difficult to define or demarcate, marked by hybrid or shifting identities,...

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