Sandra M. Gifford, Christine Bakopanos, Ida Kaplan, Ignacio Correa-Velez; Meaning or Measurement? Researching the Social Contexts of Health and Settlement among Newly-arrived Refugee Youth in Melbourne, Australia. J Refug Stud 2007; 20 (3): 414-440. doi: 10.1093/jrs/fem004
What are the most appropriate methodological approaches for researching the psychosocial determinants of health and wellbeing among young people from refugee backgrounds over the resettlement period? What kinds of research models can involve young people in meaningful reflections on their lives and futures while simultaneously yielding valid data to inform services and policy? This paper reports on the methods developed for a longitudinal study of health and wellbeing among young people from refugee backgrounds in Melbourne, Australia. The study involves 100 newly-arrived young people 12 to 18 years of age, and employs a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods implemented as a series of activities carried out by participants in personalized settlement journals. This paper highlights the need to think outside the box of traditional qualitative and/or quantitative approaches for social research into refugee youth health and illustrates how integrated approaches can produce information that is meaningful to policy makers, service providers and to the young people themselves.