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Overcoming Challenges of International Migration Research: A Case Study Approach in Southern Mexico

Julie Boyles


An ethnographic case study approach to understanding women’s actions and reactions to husbands’ emigration—or potential emigration—offers a distinct set of challenges to a U.S.-based researcher.  International migration research in a foreign context likely offers challenges in language, culture, lifestyle, as well as potential gender norm impediments. A mixed methods approach contributed to successfully overcoming barriers through an array of research methods, strategies, and tactics, as well as practicing flexibility in data gathering methods. Even this researcher’s influence on the research was minimized and alleviated, to a degree, through ascertaining common ground with many of the women. Research with the women of San Juan Guelavía, Oaxaca, Mexico offered numerous and constant challenges, each overcome with ensuing rewards.


migration research; research challenges; mixed methods; international research

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