Opportunities and Challenges of Unplanned Follow-up Interviews: Experiences with Polish Migrants in London

Louise Ryan, Magdalena Lopez Rodriguez, Paulina Trevena


Although there is growing interest in qualitative longitudinal research as a way of taking time seriously (ADAM, 2000), this approach still holds many challenges for the social researcher. In this article we use a reflexive approach, drawing on a Goffmanian analysis of self-presentation, to consider our separate but related experience of re-interviewing Polish migrants over intervals of several years. In each case, the repeat interviews were not part of the original research design and were undertaken years later for a range of different reasons. After briefly presenting case studies from our individual interviews, we critically reflect upon some opportunities and challenges of researching change through time. We first consider the ways in which repeat interviews may challenge earlier analyses and findings. We then explore some of the ethical considerations involved in unplanned repeat interviews. Next, we reflect upon dilemmas about self-revelation, particularly in contexts of social media and on-line technologies. Finally, we discuss what we have learned from our different experiences and what implications there are for this kind of ad hoc longitudinal research in migration studies.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1602266


unplanned repeat interviews; reflexivity; presenting the self; migration research

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-17.2.2530

Copyright (c) 2016 Louise Ryan, Magdalena Lopez Rodriguez, Paulina Trevena

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