Researching migration in a superdiverse society: challenges, methods, concerns and promises

Lisa Goodson, Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
237 Downloads (Pure)


The arrival of superdiversity raises a wide range of methodological issues that warrant further consideration by social researchers conducting research in superdiverse contexts. The complex multi-layering of population settlement that has emerged due to successive waves of migration means that identities, lived experience and access to services including welfare are played out in a plethora of different ways, often determined by the interplay of a range of socio-economic variables alongside structural characteristics, which influence the fundamental rights and entitlements of individuals living in the UK and in turn their settlement and adaptation experiences. This paper reflects on the limitations of ethno-centric research designs, which concentrate on ethnicity as the single most important unit of analysis, and calls for more participatory and multidimensional methodologies that engage diverse participants and reflect the levels of socio-demographic complexity experienced in urban areas of society. It then moves on to discuss a number of specific methodological challenges associated with complex populations. In particular sampling and access issues associated with diverse migrant populations will be considered. The latter part of this paper discusses the adoption of a range of research approaches that offer promising potential in terms of better capturing and understanding the heterogeneity, complexity and fluidity concomitant with superdiversity as well as engaging a range of community stakeholders in the production of knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2017


  • Community Research
  • Documents of Life
  • Superdiversity
  • Co-Production Community Research
  • Maximum Variation Sampling
  • Respondent Driven Sampling


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