Mixing methods in research on diaspora policies

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    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 diff erent 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 international survey of state- diaspora relations across more than 60 states, followed in sequence by in- depth analysis of two atypical case studies: New Zealand and Ireland. The remainder of this chapter discusses both the procedures followed and the principles behind the choice of these procedures. It falls into three main sections. The first section discusses the meaning and main features of mixed methods research, and explains why a specific mixed methods design was chosen for the project. The second section discusses the quantitative methods used in the research, and the final section discusses the qualitative methods used. The chapter concludes with a short summary.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHandbook of Research Methods in Migration
    Editors Carlos Vargas-Silva
    Place of PublicationNorthampton
    PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Inc.
    ISBN (Print)978 1 78100 542 2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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