Innovation in the Study of International Migrants

Dirgha J. Ghimire, University of Michigan
Nathalie Williams, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Arland Thornton, University of Michigan
Linda Young-DeMarco, University of Michigan
Prem B. Bhandari, University of Michigan

This paper is motivated by the methodological challenges faced by investigations of international migration around the world. Studies of international migration are hampered by the difficulties of obtaining information about migrants, their origin communities, and their destination communities. This paper reports on a project that successfully interviewed 95 percent of respondents from a community in Nepal to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. We discuss our innovations in sampling design, ways of interacting with people in the sending communities to obtain migrant contact information, the incorporation of new communication technologies such as cell phones, interviewer organizations and strategies, and the use of networking in destination areas to facilitate a high degree of interviewing success. Our new procedures and success in implementing them constitute a significant improvement in survey methods that permit the creation of unbiased data sets of migrants and allow them to be studied in conjunction with their origin communities.

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Presented in Session 180: Migration Data and Methods