Social Policy and Society

Articles

A Community Research Methodology: Working with New Migrants to Develop a Policy Related Evidence Base

Lisa Goodsona1 and Jenny Phillimorea2

a1 Institute of Applied Social Studies, School of Social Policy, College of Social Science, The University of Birmingham E-mail: l.j.goodson@bham.ac.uk

a2 Institute of Applied Social Studies, School of Social Policy, College of Social Science, The University of Birmingham

Abstract

This paper reflects on a community research project aimed at building the capacity of Refugee Community Organisations (RCOs). The project intended to identify and collect a robust and reliable evidence base to equip RCO leaders with the relevant information required to engage in policy lobbying to raise awareness of the barriers faced by refugees when trying to access ESOL and support for mental health issues, education and employment. The main mechanism used to collect evidence was a team of 16 paid community researchers from a range of refugee backgrounds. This paper considers the rationale for adopting a community research approach, the meaning of community research to those involved, as well as the methodological challenges and practical concerns associated with the approach.