Editorial: Strengths, Risks and Limits of Doing Participatory Research in Migration Studies


  • Diana Mata-Codesal GER-Research Group on Reciprocity-Anthropology Department, the University of Barcelona http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1438-7133
  • Laure Kloetzer Institute of Psychology and Education, University of Neuchâtel
  • Concepción Maiztegui-Oñate Pedagogía Social y Diversidad. Facultad de Psicología y Educación, University of Deusto, Bilbao




Internal marketing, employees intention to leave, hospitals Environment


This special issue, entitled "Participatory methods in migration research", deals with the methodological challenges and ethical implications of applying participatory methods with migrant populations. Participatory research is often used as a general term for a variety of research projects using different methods, including action research, collaborative research, community-based research, co-creation or some arts-based projects. This special issue assumes that participatory research involves a different epistemology that allows for new insights, reflections and stories. Consequently, one of its main characteristics is the horizontal relationship between researchers and participants, based on the recognition of all the people involved as equal human beings collaborating on a particular research question. Through the SI, one of the themes that is discussed, from a variety of perspectives in the field of migration studies, is power distribution. The challenge is to achieve a more equal share of power among all those involved in the research process. From the set of articles presented here, another theme that emerges strongly is the struggle for social justice beyond the research process itself. The special issue contains a range of participatory research approaches in the field of migration studies from different parts of the word (Africa, Europe, USA) revealing a growing interest in these methodologies. 


Aldridge, J. (2014). Working with vulnerable groups in social research: dilemmas by default and design. Qualitative Research, 14(1), 112-130.


Arnstein, S. R. (1969). A ladder of citizen participation. Journal of the American Institute of planners, 35(4), 216-224.


Balcarzar, F. E. (2003). Investigación acción participativa (IAP): Aspectos conceptuales y dificultades de implementación. Fundamentos en Humanidades, 7(8), 59-77

Bradbury, H. and Reason, P. (2006). Conclusion: Broadening the bandwidth of validity: Issues and choice-points for improving the quality of action research. Handbook of action research, pp.343-351.

Caretta, M. A. and Riaño, Y. (2016). Feminist participatory methodologies in geography: creating spaces of inclusion. Qualitative Research, 16(3), 258-266


Cho, J. and Trent, A. (2006). Validity in qualitative research revisited. Qualitative Research, 6(3), 319-340.


Delgado, M. (1999) El Animal Público. Barcelona: Anagrama.

Fox, M., Mediratta, K., Ruglis, J., Stoudt, B., Shah, S., and Fine, M. (2010). Critical youth engagement: Participatory action research and organizing. Handbook of Research on Civic Engagement in Youth, pp.621-649.


Hennink, M.; Hutter, I., and Bailey, A. (2011). Qualitative Research Methods. London: Sage.

Iosifides, T. and Sporton, D. (2009) Biographical methods in migration research. Migration Letters, 6(2), 101-108.


Kontopodis, M. (2012) Neoliberalism, Pedagogy and Human Development: Exploring Time, Mediation and Collectivity in Contemporary Schools. London & New York: Routledge


Lenette, C. (2019) Mental health and critical multicultural practice: An arts-based approach. In Nipperess, S. and Williams, C. (eds.) Critical Multicultural Practice: New Perspectives in Australian Social Work, pp.101-115.

Letiecq, B. and Schmalzbauer, L. (2012). Community-based participatory research with Mexican migrants in a new rural destination: A good fit? Action Research, 10(3), 244-259.


Long, J.; Hylton, K., and Spracklen, K. (2014). Whiteness, blackness and settlement: Leisure and the integration of new migrants. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 40(11), 1779-1797. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2014.893189.


Mata-Codesal, D.; Pereira, S.; Maiztegui-Oñate, C.; Ulloa, E., Esesumaga, E., and López del Molino. A. (2018) Con la Cámara a Cuestas: Aportaciones de la fotografía en procesos participativos de investigación-intervención. Forum: Qualitative Social Research. 19(1), Art. 14.

Milne, E.J. (2016) Critiquing participatory video: experiences from around the world, Area, 48(4), 401-404.


Mountz, A.; Bonds, A.; Mansfield, B.; Loyd, J.; Hyndman, J., Walton-Roberts, M., Basu, R.; Whitson, R.; Hawkins, R.; Hamilton, T., and Curran, W. (2015) For slow scholarship: A feminist politics of resistance through collective action in the neoliberal university. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 14(4), 1235-1259.

Pereira, S.; Maiztegi, C., and Mata-Codesal, D. (2016) Transformative Looks. Practicing citizenship through photography, Journal of Social Science Education, 15(4), 14-21.

O'Neill, M. (2008). Transnational refugees: The transformative role of Art? Forum: Qualitative Social Research 9(2), Art. 59.

Riaño, Y. (2016). Minga biographic workshops with highly skilled migrant women: enhancing spaces of inclusion. Qualitative Research, 16(3), 267-279.


Sirkeci, I.; DeTona, C.; Iosifides, T., and Frisina, A. (2019) Reader in Qualitative Methods in Migration Research. London: Transnational Press London

Soler Masó, P.; Trilla, J.; Jiménez, M., and Ucar Martínez, X. (2017). The construction of a pedagogical model of youth empowerment: spaces, moments and processes. SIPS - Pedagogía Socia. Revista Interuniversitaria, 30, 19-34


Vaughn, L., Jacquez, F. Lindquist-Grantz, R., Parsons, A., and Melink, K. (2017). Immigrants as Research Partners: A Review of Immigrants in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). Immigrant Minority Health, 19, 1457-1468. Doi: 10.1007/s10903-016-0474-3


Walsh, S. (2016). Critiquing the politics of participatory video and the dangerous romance of liberalism, Area, 48(4), 405-411.


Wang, C. and Burris, M. A. (1997). Photovoice: Concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment. Health Education & Behavior, 24(3), 369-387.


Wiles, R., Crow, G., and Pain, H. (2011). Innovation in qualitative research methods: a narrative review. Qualitative Research, 11(5), 587-604.





How to Cite

Mata-Codesal, D., Kloetzer, L., & Maiztegui-Oñate, C. (2020). Editorial: Strengths, Risks and Limits of Doing Participatory Research in Migration Studies. Migration Letters, 17(2), 201–210. https://doi.org/10.59670/ml.v17i2.934