From 8-12 July 2013. the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), with the support of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), hosted a training school on “Field Research Methods (Qualitative and Quantitative) in Environmentally Induced Migration” in Bonn.
Climate change and migration are emerging on the research agenda worldwide. In particular, the discourse around environmentally induced migration is gaining increasing attention and is reflected in numerous research contexts. However, these endeavors are constantly accompanied by substantial discussion on conceptual and methodological challenges.
The training school brought together 11 PhD and master’s degree students from nine countries representing three continents. The team of trainers comprised ten international experts in environmentally induced migration from UNU-EHS, University of Bonn, University of Munich, German Development Institute, and the Center for Development Research (ZEF).
The training school started with a critical introduction to climate change and migration research, touching upon conceptual challenges and problems of definition, describing some research pathways and offering an overview of the current state of research, knowledge gaps and the legal aspects of environmentally induced migration.
Participants also gained knowledge and experience on empirical research techniques such as Participatory Research Appraisal (PRA), qualitative research methods such as interviews or perceptions research and a more quantitative (household) survey instrument.
The five-day course moved beyond classic university classroom learning and focused on practical skills required for advanced research and its application to science at an international level. Trainees engaged in numerous interactive exercises, such as a role-play of a PRA session.
Exercises stimulated dynamic discussions about academic and practical aspects of applying research methods, allowing participants to share their previous experiences and ideas as well as to receive detailed feedback from the experts. The training school also provided support for the trainees in their individual research plans and refined their skills in presenting their research.
Participants were able to interactively gain a deeper understanding of the scope of application, advantages and challenges of research within the field of climate change and migration.
The COST Action programme IS 1101 on “Climate change and migration: knowledge, law and policy, and theory” aims to build a broad body of social science research concerning climate change and migration. The Action, which involves social scientists from a wide range of disciplines (including geography, political science, environmental history, law, and legal and policy studies), provides funding for workshops, short-term scientific missions and training schools.
For more information about the training school, see the UNU-EHS hosts first training school: Field research methods (qualitative and quantitative) in environmentally induced migration on the UNU-EHS website.