ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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How different interview methods could help to deepen the understanding of the situation for Colombian refugee children.

Anders Fjallhed

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 10 - Law Building, Room 105
Date: 2012-07-10 03:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Last modified: 2012-06-19


The aim of this paper is to discuss how different interview methods could help to deepen the understanding of the situation for Colombian refugee children and how they are able to handle the adjustments related to a refugee situation, both in a neighbouring country like Venezuela and in a foreign country like Sweden.

In trying to reach a deeper understanding of the refugee children’s life stories, a multi-strategy research method was used. First, quantitative data were collected in order to obtain a more general picture of the situation for the refugee children. The refugee children express their views of their lives, for example home, school and work. Here, semi-structured “face-to face” interviews were used, and the quantitative data were analyzed with help of the statistical software SPSS. Further, grounded theory was used to analyze a selection of the interviews. Grounded theory can be described as theory generating rather than theory confirming. In this analysis of qualitative data the computer program ATLAS.ti was used. During the process of developing the theory, a case study was carried out with a Colombian refugee family in Sweden.
The persons who have shared their experiences and thoughts with us are fifty Colombian refugee children living in the border states of Venezuela, twenty boys and thirty girls, ages seven to eighteen years old. Stories (in part or in full) from eight of the girls and seven of the boys were used in the qualitative data. In addition were used the stories from a Colombian refugee family (the parents and their two children, an eighteen year old girl and a twenty year old boy) which, after having lived in Venezuela earlier, now lived in Sweden.
The different interviews gave different insights and perspectives in the refugee children’s life’s and resulted also in a generated theory that deals with how the refugee children are able to relate to and manage the new refugee situation.