Qualitative and Archival Research for European Migration Policies

• Consider qualitative and archival research as a chance to formulate the “right” questions in one’s daily work.
• Build a research-related stakeholder map (including universities, research centers, foundations, CSOs, NGOs, journalists and communicators) when planning your activities.
• Use research results to deconstruct mainstream narratives.
• Declare what analytic lens you use to read through the narrations collected through qualitative methods
• Encourage interdisciplinarity: historians, sociologists, anthropologists, archivists, ICT researchers should work together with practitioners, policy makers and other interested parties.


This are some of the recommendations resulting from a consultation of more than 200 stakeholder, in 7 of the ITHACA countries, answering to the question: how research – and, more specifically, how the archival and qualitative research carried out by ITHACA – can and should dialogue with policy makers and effectively inform policies and better practices?


We already announced some of the preliminary results in our previous newsletter.

In 20 policy councils held in Italy (Modena, Milan and Rome), Greece (Athens), The Netherlands (Leiden), Azerbaijan (Ahan village and Baku), Jordan (Amman), Tunisia (Tunis and Tataouine) and Morocco (Rabat and Ifrane), the voices of the researchers, practitioners, communicators, NGOs and international organisations participating led to the publication of the second ITHACA Policy Brief.


The first key-finding that joins the many stakeholders involved explains how qualitative and interpretive research can extend the comprehension of the vastness and complexity of policy processes and facilitate deep, sophisticated and complex understanding, enabling and supporting the policy implementation process.
In this way, and if well communicated, qualitative and archival research can become a powerful tool of social innovation.


The second main finding articulates the potential of archival research in support of decision making and, mainly raised by the practitioners involved, the potential of fostering migrants’ agency.
The third and last finding unravels the need of spaces and times to share research and policies questions and solutions. The rhythms of making research and policies are different. Only a constant and well organized exchange can fill the gap.