Surveying Diverse Subpopulations in Refugee Studies: Reflections on Sampling, Implementation, and Translation Strategies Drawn from Experiences with a Regional Quantitative Survey on Refugee Parents in Germany

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Conducting a survey with refugee populations involves particular challenges. Among these challenges, sampling, implementation and survey translation are crucial. This becomes even more obvious when trying to access hard-to-survey subgroups of a larger refugee population. This paper demonstrates possible ways of addressing sampling, implementation and translation problems and some of the associated pitfalls based on the example of a quantitative survey intended for refugee parents in the state of Lower Saxony/Germany. First, we argue that based on the need to collect representative data, adjusting the target population may be one way to respond to the lack of a sampling frame for the original target population. Second, we reason that under unforeseen circumstances, such as an ongoing pandemic, ad-hoc changes may be needed in implementation strategies, and we shed light on some disadvantages of self-administered web-based surveys in refugee studies. Third, we claim that surveys involving linguistically and culturally diverse refugee populations benefit to large extent from using a modified variant of the team translation approach (TRAPD). In our conclusion, we critically reflect on adaptable strategies for ensuring well-defined samples, a reasoned implementation and translation practice that meet the challenges of representing a distinct refugee population’s diversity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1593-1615
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2022

Bibliographical note

The research was funded by Lower Saxony’s State Ministry of Science and Culture with a grant of EUR 0.8 million from the ‘Niedersächsisches Vorab’ programme.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.