An Update: ‘Data Collection and Analysis’

by Prof. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Refugee Hosts PI

In November 2018, the Refugee Hosts team is starting to ‘analyse’ the transcripts of circa 400 semi-structured interviews completed since autumn 2017 by our diversely positioned research teams in the Middle East and in the UK. A final set of interviews – circa 100 – are due to be completed by Spring 2019.

Since 2017, a team of researchers with diverse backgrounds – Syrian-, Palestinian-, Lebanese-, Jordanian-, German-, British- , Spanish- – have individually, in pairs and in small teams conducted interviews with more than 180 people who have been displaced from Syria since 2011, with 180 members of ‘local host communities’ (including refugee-host communities), and with over 30 local, national and international responders in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

Our ‘fieldsites’ – where these interviews have been conducted – have included Hamra in Beirut, Baddawi refugee camp and its neighbouring area (Jebel al-Baddawi) in Northern Lebanon; a range of neighbourhoods and camps in Irbid, Jarash and Zarqaa in Jordan; and in Istanbul and Ankara in Turkey. While these may appear to be ‘discrete’ sites, throughout our research we have been exploring these spaces and places through a relational frame, tracing diverse ways in which these ‘sites’  intersect and, indeed, are co-produced with and through one another. These intersections are amongst the dynamics explored in my blog post, ‘Shadows and Echoes in/of Displacement: temporalities, spatialities and materialities of displacement.’

In addition to conducting semi-structured interviews to explore experiences of and responses to displacement in each of these localities, these are also the neighbourhoods, camps, towns and cities where we have conducted walking tours, participant observation of every-day life, social mapping exercises, knowledge exchange workshops, participatory research workshops, and creative writing workshops.

On a technical level, we are now starting to read through and ‘code’ these transcripts and field-notes, both manually highlighting key themes and quotes that stand out as we read them individually and collectively, and using computer assisted qualitative analysis software (NVivo in our case) to more systematically identify common themes across such a large number of pages.

Furthermore, in December 2018 members of our transnational team will come together from Lebanon, Jordan, Europe and the UK for a joint analysis workshop in Lebanon, where we will collectively identify, discuss and debate key themes and topics arising across and between our fieldsites and respective disciplinary approaches.

These processes will in turn lay the foundations for the numerous articles, books and journal issues that we will be ‘produce,’ individually, in pairs and collectively, as part of our project over the coming months.

However, as noted in the Introduction to our new Reflections from the Field blog series, the members of the Refugee Hosts team have been ‘analysing’ and indeed ‘producing’ (including through the Refugee Hosts blog) since the very start of our project.  While the above-mentioned process of ‘manual’ or ‘computer assisted’ coding is one important part of our research, our team has been exploring and analysing the encounters at the heart of our project through diverse conceptual, theoretical, epistemological and (inter)disciplinary frames. These include viewing poetry and photography as modes of analysis, not merely as ‘materials’ to be analysed.

Over the coming months we will therefore not only share our reflections on the diverse types of ‘data’ collected, and created, throughout our research project (including interview transcripts, field diaries, workshop notes, hand-drawn maps, stories, poems and photographs), tracing the themes arising in these ‘materials’. We will also explore what it means to ‘analyse’ the complex encounters that characterise and are produced throughout diverse processes and spaces of displacement, hosting and research.

You can read more about these ongoing and overlapping processes by clicking here to read our new Reflections from the Field blog series.


Featured Image: Post-it notes written by the participants of a research workshop exploring meanings of hosting, and sources of support for refugees, in Hamra, Lebanon. (c) L. Harsch, October 2018.


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