Lessons from Utilising Retrospective Network Mapping and Visualisation:
Comparing the Networks of Filipino Nurses, Domestics, and Careworkers in London and New York
However, it has also been noted by previous researchers that collecting personal network data entails a heavy burden to the respondent as it not only requires to list relevant people and their characteristics but also to evaluate the ties between those people they listed. Another issue to consider is the tendency to inaccurately recall all relevant connections. For instance, respondents mostly remember those they have recently in contact with but tend to forget the relationships that are distant in time.
In this study of the networks of Filipino nurses, domestics, and careworkers in London and New York, I employed several strategies to minimise the issues mentioned. In order to reduce respondent burden and to aid respondents’ memory, I utilised network mapping and visualization both in paper-based and electronic formats depending on the respondent’s preference and the given interview situation. The software package VennMaker was used for the digitized version. The diagram is comprised of four concentric circles corresponding to the level of importance of each actor named and divided into geographical locations of the relevant actors.
Though not technically a longitudinal study, I attempted to reconstruct changes in migrant networks through retrospection by asking for a particular network in each migration phase (before coming to London/New York, initial settlement, and further integration). While eliciting these networks by embedding them within migrants’ narratives does not entirely eliminate the problem of forgetting, I argue that doing so enhance the ease of recall of relevant ties thereby providing a better understanding of migrant networks.