Engaging with migrants

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Co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals

5. Engaging with migrants

5.6 Action research

One way of finding out about the views of migrant communities is to support people to do the research themselves. This type of approach is called Action Research and means that local people or community groups carry out their own research into the needs and experiences of their communities. 

5.6.1 How does it work?

Migrants should largely define what research needs to be undertaken, and how this will be done. They are then involved in actually undertaking the research - for example through community surveys, open days and so on.

This type of approach gives people power to define the issues that affect them, and the way these should be explored. It is often an effective way of doing local research, as local people often have good links with the community, and can encourage higher rates of participation.  It can also help to build community capacity.

5.6.2 What support is required? 

Communities will normally need support to carry out their own research. For example, they might need:

  • Ongoing support and advice on the process.
  • Training on the research techniques they wish to use.
  • Funding for community engagement activity.
  • Support with venues, incentives, catering, and so on.

Find out more...

Research to explore Social Support and Migration in Scotland is currently being undertaken by Glasgow University and Swansea University for the Economic and Social Research Council.  This involves working with four local authorities – Aberdeen City, Glasgow City, Aberdeenshire and Angus.  A key part of this research will involve participatory action research that will include the development of participatory initiatives working with East European Migrants, service providers and policy makers.

Case study

In Perth and Kinross, PKAVS Services for Minority Communities (the MEAD project) produces an annual Community Intelligence Report for the Council and other community planning partners.  This helps to influence service priorities for local minority ethnic and migrant communities.  The report presents the findings from work conducted by the MEAD project, looking at issues related to minority ethnic communities resident in Perth and Kinross.  It also highlights their needs, and any barriers they face when attempting to access local services. The report provides a detailed demographic breakdown of local minority ethnic communities in Perth and Kinross, and those accessing MEAD’s services.