Of course she’s thinking about switching topics

After a 2-month-ish hiatus of focusing on other things, I’m unsurprisingly thinking of changing my topic…

What’s the new topic? Refugees. Specifically? Underage male refugee recent arrivals from Afghanistan. Why? Simply because I have access to them because of my job. It’s here, it’s now, and it’s a population that hasn’t been studied a lot yet.

Topic: The obvious one that comes to mind is something to do with media use, probably in regards to language learning/assimilation or in regards to maintaining ties with their home country. Based on my own observations or “preliminary research,” most of them use media for interpersonal communication (usually via Smartphone messaging apps) and entertainment (smartphone games, internet radio, sometimes television shows if they have access to a TV.) To my knowledge so far none of them watch the news.


  • Getting a Farsi-English translator (can ask some of the other teachers at my school)
  • Getting permission from a legal guardian to interview minors for this project (will need to contact their Betreuer, possibly get permission from my boss)
  • Staying in contact with the interviewees (who might lose their phone or move to Sweden or get sent back to Afghanistan or just lose interest in participating in this project)
  • Justify sampling… why is it relevant to interview 12-17 year old male asylum seekers from Afghanistan in Germany? (Other than convenience, in my case.) What is specific about this population that warrants further research?

What do you think?

Now on to look at existing research, to hopefully develop a research question and an answer to the questions “why is this relevant” and “why this population”

Of course she’s thinking about switching topics

2 thoughts on “Of course she’s thinking about switching topics

  1. Alison Haywood says:

    More ideas: surveys + semi-structured interviews focusing on 1) what media these people have access to (technologically) and 2) what media they LIKE and would WANT to use to learn German/learn to integrate (i.e. language learning apps, music or films, audiobooks…?)


  2. A Research Question!!!! You need a question. Yes, this is an idea and you are already thinking about different methods and thereby take the second step before the first one. Something about media usage. What? Come up with more precise questions than those stated in your comment otherwise it will stay very vague and you will get lost in this project. The question is not only why it is relevant or why this population. More important is to formulate what you want to find out. I can see certain ideas, but you need to be more precise. For example if you want to focus on integration – what does that mean for your approach?
    So that is the general feedback. Now something more specific. I have some concerns about the feasibility. Working with a translator is always problematic and in the other class I very extensively advised So Youn against doing research in a language she couldn’t speak at all as this might always lead to misunderstandings. Even if you do research in your second language this happens as translation is not an easy thing to do. And that leads me back to your nearly non-existent research question. Whether a project is feasible with a translation in the process of data collection is determined by what you want to find out. Is there the risk for misunderstandings due to a translation. And what languages do you need – only Dari, or Pashto as well? How will you minimize the risk of misunderstandings?
    You say something about convenience in regards of the sampling, but quite honestly, even if you have access to this people, this idea to me seemed everything else but convenient. But if you have access to refugees and you find a translator. Why don’t you do a kind of small pre-test. Come up with ten questions you would ask a person within your sample and do try to interview a refugee with a translator to see how it works.


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