Understanding the Perspectives of Refugee Unaccompanied Minors Using a Computer-Assisted Interview

  • Jeanette A. Lawrence University of Melbourne
  • Ida Kaplan Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture
  • Amy H. Collard Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture
Keywords: computer-assisted interview, unaccompanied minors, wellbeing, goals, worry, refugee young people, textual analysis

Abstract

This article reports analyses of the perspectives on their wellbeing expressed by four unaccompanied minor refugees resettling in Australia. We used a computer-assisted interview (CAI) to set up a research environment to facilitate young people's expressions and to treat them and their expressed perspectives with respect and integrity. Participants' data are represented in tables as full transcripts with CAI questions and tasks, and are analyzed using exegetical textual analysis. Analyses reveal similarities and differences in young people's themes and personalized concerns in relation to their life circumstances in resettlement. All four unaccompanied minors were worried about the families from whom they were isolated. Two young women who were humanitarian refugees were preoccupied with family separation and reunion, and also with their own inner states and behavior. Two young men who had been asylum seekers were focused on family and their own educational advancement. The value of the CAI approach is discussed in relation to criticisms of reductionism in quantitative and qualitative data; its ability to support young refugees to express their views with agency and confidence; and the representation of young people's expressed perspectives as a basis for understanding and for supportive programs.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs160268

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Author Biographies

Jeanette A. Lawrence, University of Melbourne

Jeanette LAWRENCE is a developmental psychologist and an honorary associate professor at The University of Melbourne. Her research is in personal and social development across the life-course, with particular interests in intergenerational relations and the developmental experiences of children and young people from refugee backgrounds and their need for a suitable voice for expressing their well-being. She has expertise in developing culturally-appropriate research methods, specializing in the development of computer-assisted interview techniques.

Ida Kaplan, Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture

Ida KAPLAN is a clinical psychologist and the director of Direct Services at Victoria Foundation for the Survivors of Torture and Trauma. She is a specialist in trauma, especially for refugees and asylum seekers.

Amy H. Collard, Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture

Amy COLLARD is a social worker with background and research in developmental psychology. She is a counsellor-advocate at Victoria Foundation for the Survivors of Torture.

Published
2016-03-30
How to Cite
Lawrence, J. A., Kaplan, I., & Collard, A. H. (2016). Understanding the Perspectives of Refugee Unaccompanied Minors Using a Computer-Assisted Interview. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 17(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-17.2.2483
Section
Single Contributions