Qualitative Interviews with Irregular Migrants in Times of COVID-19: Recourse to Remote Interview Techniques as a Possible Methodological Adjustment

  • Maria Gruber University of Vienna
  • Jakob Moritz Eberl University of Vienna
  • Fabienne Lind University of Vienna
  • Hajo G. Boomgaarden University of Vienna
Keywords: semi-structured interviews, remote interviews, COVID-19, irregular migrants, research design

Abstract

Research designs require flexibility, and adjustments made to the designs do not always have to lead exclusively to disadvantages. In this research note, we would like to share our reflections on the impact of COVID-19 on the conduct of qualitative interviews with irregular migrants. Since these considerations were developed in close connection with one of our own projects, in which fieldwork is currently in the planning phase, we believe they may be relevant to similar projects. We include a brief remark on the current situation of irregular migrants in different (European) countries, as well as an assessment of the methodological feasibility of qualitative face-to-face interviews with irregular migrants and possible alternatives to this method such as remote and online interview formats. We conclude with insights on our recommendation to rely on a mixed-mode approach, which allows us to use various remote interview modes, thus providing the necessary flexibility to adapt to profound health and social crises such as COVID-19.

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Author Biographies

Maria Gruber, University of Vienna

Maria GRUBER is a doctoral researcher at the Department of Communication, University of Vienna. In her research she focuses on the interplay of media and migration. She is a member of the H2020 project MIRROR which focuses on the role of ICTs, new media and emerging perceptions in the process of migration.

Jakob Moritz Eberl, University of Vienna

Jakob-Moritz EBERL is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna. He is a member of the H2020 project MIRROR. His research focus is on political communication. Among others, he studies media coverage about migration in Europe and its effects on audiences.

Fabienne Lind, University of Vienna

Fabienne LIND is a doctoral researcher at the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna. Her research and publications revolve around the methodological advancement of social science research on migration. She is concerned with multilingual text analysis for comparative communication research. From this perspective, she has published on the representation of migration in European media discourses.

Hajo G. Boomgaarden, University of Vienna

Hajo G. BOOMGAARDEN is dean of the faculty of social sciences and professor for empirical social science methods at the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna. He leads a work package within the H2020 project MIRROR. His research focus is on methods of text analysis.

Published
2020-12-15
Section
Single Contributions