Conducting Individual Semi-Structured Interviews With Male Refugees on Their Mental Health and Integration


Our Research Methods Case Study aims to provide an insight on how to conduct semi-structured interviews with male refugees on their mental health and integration in the host country. Our starting point was that the literature in this field focuses mostly on refugees as a broad category and/or on refugee women and children and there is rather little information on male refugees’ mental health. As with other refugee populations, male refugees have been exposed to multiple pre- and post-migratory traumatic episodes; it was therefore essential for us to be aware and respectful of their situation. We also knew refugees find hard to talk to individuals who are considered to be in a position of authority, including researchers, and this also had to be considered in our study. We both have experience of working with vulnerable populations and we know that listening empathetically to participants’ stories can lead to vicarious trauma, so we both had a designated person to talk to after conducting the interviews. For this case study, we describe our rationale for using qualitative research with male refugees, how we designed and conducted the in-depth semi-structured interviews, the process of getting the ethical approval/consent, and how we analyzed and made sense of the data. Our aim is to provide an insight into how to conduct research with this population to gain rich data that can help to understand and support them.

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