A Community Research Methodology: Working with New Migrants to Develop a Policy Related Evidence Base

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In recent years the importance of participatory research approaches has increased and methods employing community researchers have become more commonplace. Community researchers can bring new dimensions and perspectives to research questions and problems as they can gain access to hard to reach communities and gain insider knowledge about social life within those communities. However, the use of community researchers raises a range of questions about the quality of data and subsequent findings. Whilst the method has been employed by both academics and practitioners in fields such as health care and urban and regional studies, there is a dearth of knowledge and a lack of documented accounts and information relating to the approach. This paper considers both theoretical and practical issues relating to community research by reflecting on two community research projects working with new migrants. The paper discusses a number of epistemological, ontological and methodological questions as well as practical concerns e.g. who can be a researcher? How can one ensure reliability? How can rigour be safeguarded? And to what extent do these issues matter? How can the community research process be managed?

Keywords: Community Research, Participatory Research, New Migrants, Epistemology, Ontology
Stream: Research Methodologies, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Community Research Methodology, A

Dr. Lisa Jane Goodson

Lecturer, Centre for Urban and Regional Studies
School of Public Policy, University of Birmingham

Birmingham, West Midlands, UK

Lisa Goodson is a Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, Centre for Urban and Regional Studies. Lisa's main research interests focus on new migration, refugee women and integration. She specialises in qualitative research methodologies and has co-edited a book on qualitative research for Routledge and is currently completing a book on refugee integration and access to the UK labour markets. Lisa has extensive experience working with a range of community groups on issues concerning social exclusion, integration and sustainable development. She has worked on and managed a range of projects funded by organisations such as the United Nations, JRF, the Home Office and EQUAL. Lisa co-directs the qualitative research methods post-graduate course at the University and runs day seminars for public service personnel on focus groups and community consultation. She has also managed a large community research programme training new migrants in social research skills to work as co-researchers.

Dr. Jenny Phillimore

Lecturer, Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Birmingham
Birmingham, West Midlands, UK

Jenny Phillimore is a Lecturer at the University of Birmingham. She has led a number of major projects looking at the ways in which refugees skills and experience can be accredited and documented. She headed the Making a Difference Joseph Rowntree Foundation project, which looked at the ways in which RCOs can use evidence to influence policy. Together with colleague Dr Lisa Goodson, she has written many reports for local, regional and national Government on new migration, integration, employability and housing and academic papers on new migration, social capital and social exclusion. She is currently researching the experiences of Accession country migrants in relation to housing and neighborhoods. Their book, New migrants in the UK: education, training, employment, policy and practice will be published by Trentham in 2008.

Ref: I08P0745