Launching the Survey among Syrian Refugees | Experience from the workshop at the Swedish Research Institute, ISTANBUL


Experience from the workshop at the Swedish Research Institute

February 2019 - Istanbul

By Anita Brzozowska & Karolina Sobczak-Szelc | University of Warsaw

If you have ever experienced quantitative research among migrants, then you are already aware of challenges that it is linked to, and that good methodological concept, preparation and launch of the survey is a key to have high-quality data for further analysis.

Methodologically, research carried out within the framework of the H2020 RESPOND project relies on multi-stage research design, incorporating a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods for data gathering and analysis. The quantitative component of the study is conducted with the help of the survey on Syrian refugees. Its aim is to collect information about refugees’ norms, values, attitudes and behaviours with respect to borders, refugee protection, reception as well as to socio-economic and socio-cultural integration. The survey is conducted in two destination countries – Sweden and Turkey – in selected cities that have seen a rise in the number of forced migrants from Syria in the past couple of years (2011-2017). In Turkey, these are Istanbul, Izmir, Şanlıurfa, Batman and in Sweden – Stockholm-Södertälje, Lund/Malmö, Göteborg and Gävle.

Translated into Arabic either paper or web questionnaires will be distributed among Syrian refugees by trained assistants. We decided to choose self-enumeration as a mode of data collection since this seems to be more comfortable for respondents than a face-to-face interview. It allows as well for faster data collection. The effort is made to reach respondents of different characteristics (in terms of gender, age, education, legal status, religion and background culture) and residing in different above-mentioned cities of the two studied countries.

The main channel of contact with respondents in Turkey is Qnushyo – The Syrian Cultural Centre in Istanbul, which became a gathering hub for the Syrian refugees (for further information check the post on RESPOND blog. Here social networks and local contacts of the Center’s workers are the main vehicles to reach respondents. In order to prepare assistants from Qnushyo for the fieldwork, in February we organized the workshop at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul. During the workshop, the interviewers, mainly from Qnushyo, were trained in data collection, ethics and self-care since they are responsible not only for distribution of the paper questionnaires but also for assisting respondents in filling them up in case of need. This can take place in respondents’ homes, public places as well as during language lessons.

The workshop was a great opportunity to collect feedback from the insiders and improve the tool according to their comments. It was also the best chance to pretest and pilot a survey questionnaire and identify practical problems with implementation before doing the actual survey.