Qualitative Migration Research: Some New Reflections Six Years Later

By Iosifides, Theodoros | The Qualitative Report, September 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Qualitative Migration Research: Some New Reflections Six Years Later

Iosifides, Theodoros, The Qualitative Report

The main purpose of this article is a brief presentation of the most crucial stages of a research process concerning migration of foreign workers in Greece. The research (within my doctoral studies at Sussex University, Brighton, UK) was undertaken for a period of almost nine months (1995-1996) in Athens, Greece. In this article I present some important dimensions of the multiple methods used (semi-structured interviews with informational questionnaires, in-depth interviews and participant observation) to obtain information and data, mainly on the employment and housing conditions and situations of immigrants in the city, and take the opportunity to critically reflect on that research's methodology and findings today. Key words: Qualitative Methods, Migration Research, and Critical Realism

Research Context and Research Questions

Greece, together with other countries of Southern Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal) have relatively recently--from the mid 1980s onwards--been transformed from major emigration to immigration countries (Iosifides, 1997). The origins of the new immigration flows are both in the Mediterranean area and further a field, although there is still a relative absence of accurate and credible statistical data. Immigrants into Southern Europe come mainly from developing countries--the Maghreb, Cape Verde, the Philippines, Eritrea, Somalia, Jordan, Egypt, Latin America, Gambia, Ghana and Guinea, and from some eastern European Countries such as Poland, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania etc. (Salt, Singleton, & Hogarth, 1994).

This major migratory transformation of Southern Europe to a destination area has been explained by a combination of interrelated factors such as the relative ease of entry, the tightening of controls in other potential destination countries, geographical, cultural and ex-colonial links, economic and demographic reasons and the demand for cheap labour in Southern European countries due to socio-economic restructuring and informalisation (Fakiolas, 1994; Iosifides & King, 1996; King & Rybaczuk, 1993; Pugliese, 1993).

Greece became a de facto immigration country in less than fifteen years. Despite its poor economic performance during the 1980s, Greece has attracted and received hundreds of thousands of foreign workers, and despite the imposing of stricter control measures during the 1990s, the inflow is continuing. Within this context the general topic of research was selected due to a series of reasons (Iosifides, 1997):

* First of all, it was considered to be a challenge to study some important aspects and dimensions of the migratory transformation of Greece and its impacts on economic, social and labour market systems of the country.

* Secondly, the phenomenon, at the time of research, was relatively new in Greece. There were limited studies at that time although the need for better understanding of the complexities and impacts of immigration into Greece were (and still are) great. Migration studies at the time of research were mostly descriptive and based on secondary data or census data about legally resided immigrants in the country, leaving the vast majority of foreign labour (the undocumented immigrants) unconsidered. Consequently, an in depth qualitative account of the important dimensions of the phenomenon of immigration in Greece, was missing.

* Finally it seemed to be extremely interesting to try to connect contemporary international socio-economic and migratory changes with the peculiarities of the Southern European countries in general, and Greece specifically.

Within the above general framework the specific research questions and objectives of the study were the following (Iosifides, 1997):

* The first research objective was related to the presentation and analysis of the general characteristics of the immigrant groups selected for the study (see next part) in order to highlight lines of similarity and differentiation between them.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Qualitative Migration Research: Some New Reflections Six Years Later


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?