About the Methodology

Migration into and within the Europe in the 21st century is best understood not just as a single event in a person’s life. Analysts need a perspective which identifies the complex set of socio-economic processes and phenomena which influence human mobility. The changing significance of national borders within an increasingly globalised world means that migration can no longer be understood merely by the application of analytical terms such as ‘push-pull’ factors. New typologies of migrant types are needed, as are theoretical approaches and methodologies which enable researchers to ‘capture’ the complex social realities of migration and integration.

Various methodological perspectives

EUMARGINS integrates various methodological perspectives and different methods in order to achieve a comprehensive and integrated approach of the research topic. This allows to define social exclusion and inclusion phenomena in a social actors' centred perspective without losing a broader vision of and systemic understanding of social relations and contextual factors in a given society.

The extended case study approach

The extended case study approach is the reference model used to develop the research plan. To better develop contextual background material and to sketch emerging ethnographic material in a consistent framework of reference both a situation analysis and a secondary analysis of already available data at local and national level is necessary.

Extended case study approach recalls for deep understanding of a certain universe by focusing upon a more restricted sample. This restricted sample is studied by means of deep narrative oriented field-work activities – such as participant observation, oral histories and biographies collection and network analysis. Then it will be analysed in a broader social context of reference based on the prior situation analysis and secondary analysis.

A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods

Representativity – intended as the possibility to determine the constituencies, characteristics and traits of the social universe by analysing in deep a very restricted sample – is the major problem and critique to extended case study approach. EUMARGINS does not aim to provide a universal reading and explanation of exclusion social processes in society, but rather its challenge is to answer some social problems that emerge in some local social contexts in a given momentum of that given society’s socio-cultural history. As largely exposed in philosophy of science and critical approach to social sciences in the twentieth century, it is not here to generate a kind of exhaustive truth, but more importantly to reach, paraphrasing W. Heisemberg, a kind of truth that stands between the powerful truth of data and the imagined idea of an existential truth generated by people’s experiences. This could be reached through deeply investigating – in the foreground – social actors’ contextualised inclusion and exclusion experiencing framed into a gestalt-like vision where quantitative dimensions stands as the background and help to constrain the physical and symbolic research’s field.


Tags: extended case study, methodology, qualitative research, quantitative research By Katrine Fangen
Published Sep. 22, 2010 2:01 PM - Last modified Dec. 28, 2010 1:06 PM