Conducting Survey Research on Refugee Populations. Methodological and Ethical Challenges.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Theoni STATHOPOULOU, National Centre for Social Research- EKKE, Greece
From 2015 onwards Europe has witnessed a massive population movement mainly from conflict and war areas, the largest after the Second World War. From August to December 2015, Greece, only, as the main gate to Europe, had been receiving more than 100.000 persons per month, including unaccompanied children and adolescents. Conducting research in such emergency settings is highly challenging in terms of survey design, collection modes, sampling strategies and the design of culturally informed questionnaires. In addition, the vulnerability of the highly traumatized refugee population raises ethical concerns during the several stages of survey design and fieldwork operations.

The paper addresses these challenges based on the findings of the “REHEAL” survey, the first ever conducted in Greece by the National Centre for Social Research, in six refugee camps across the country during the early phase of accommodating the massive inflows of refugees in the summer of 2016 as well as the results of a pilot study (REHEAL-UAM) on unaccompanied minors during the same period.

The main goal of the survey was to examine the reasons for fleeing the homeland, evaluation of living conditions in Greece, as well as self-reported health status, health care needs, and discriminative and traumatic experiences of the refugee population residing in the selected camps. REHEAL-UaM was conducted in the shelters of greater Athens area in Greece, with the use of adolescent depression scales and a questionnaire designed specifically for the pilot by the HRT (Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma).