ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

Font Size:  Small  Medium  Large

Confronting the Difficulties: Applying basic approaches to a case study methodology concerning irregular migration, detention and deportation

Anderson Valmoria Villa

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 10 - Law Building, Room 105
Date: 2012-07-10 03:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Last modified: 2011-12-08


As I went through the fieldwork process, given the sensitivity of the stories of my case respondents, I realized that I would never obtain the needed data with just a single interview. The whole interview process is seemingly a TV show. Indeed, sharing their life story is shaped by their very notion of “public image” to an “audience” like me (how I view them as an interviewer at face value). As most of the case respondents were women migrants from/in Japan, previously detained and later deported (though some managed to stay) due to their unauthorized status, building trust and rapport is a very important component to ensure that respondents wholeheartedly share their “un-blanketed” life stories. Digging deeper into their stories requires spending most of my time with them: doing chores, playing with their kids, meeting their friends, among others. Such an undertaking would also minimize biases and false reports or misinformation with the data gathered, especially on first visits. Normally, a budding researcher may just proceed with the interview and left with unverified information from the respondents. In doing a case study research methodology, one of its continuing processes is to verify data gathered from time to time to address questions on validity and reliability of the research. The dilemma are somehow addressed by validating their stories with the immediate significant others or the institutions that offered assistance to their dire circumstances.

As this article reflects the fieldwork for my dissertation, data were derived using replication logic: literal and theoretical replication. Three levels of case phenomena were replicated (one is literal and the other two, theoretical): 1) literal replication: women migrants with Japanese-Filipino children; 2) theoretical replication: migrants with Filipino families and children and migrants who were unsuccessful and eventually deported back home. As a qualitative research, the methodology was validated by employing open-ended in-depth interviews, key-informant interviews, direct and participant observations, and document analysis from secondary sources. An unstructured in-depth interview was primarily employed for the case-study respondents, while an interview guide was utilized for key-informants from identified non-government organizations and migration-related government agencies. A case protocol was prepared based on the pilot study conducted at the earlier phase of the research process. The protocol was carefully outlined to direct the interview process consistent with the objectives of the study.