Webinar: Ensuring comparability in cross-national research on migration

A public webinar on 25 May 2021 from 12:00 – 13:30 GMT / 13:00 – 14:30 GMT+1 (CET) discussing the challenges encountered and lessons learned in cross-national research projects conducting comparative research. Hosted by TRAFIG as part of the 'Zooming in on Migration and Asylum' webinar series.

Migration research benefits from comparative analyses across countries, communities or groups. But comparability can be a vexing issue, in both methodological and conceptual terms.

At the level of research design, what are feasible and meaningful units of comparison? One obvious pitfall is methodological nationalism – the uncritical use of nation-states as analytical units. Another is the reification of dynamic and heterogeneous migrant populations.

In the context of data collection, how can the desire for comparability best be balanced with data collection that is attuned to local contexts? Are the challenges (and solutions) different for qualitative and quantitative methodologies? And what are the implications for international collaboration between teams and individuals with different types of ties to the groups or locations that are studied?

In this webinar we draw upon the challenges encountered and lessons learned in cross-national research projects. The event is organised by:

  • MIGNEX, which carries out mixed-methods data collection in 25 local areas across 10 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
  • TRAFIG, which investigate long-lasting displacement situations at multiple sites in Asia, Africa and Europe and analyse options to improve displaced people’s lives.
  • MAGYC, which is conducting comparative, multi-level analysis of the dynamics of South-South migration flows in key sending regions of migration to the EU.


  • Dr Benjamin Etzold, Senior Researcher at the peace and conflict studies center BICC and Scientific Coordinator of the TRAFIG project
  • Dr Marta Bivand Erdal, Research Professor in Migration Studies at the Peace Research Institute Oslo and lead for Work Package 4: Perspectives for the MIGNEX project
  • Dr Lea Müller-Funk, Research Fellow at GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies and researcher on the MAGYC project

Moderated by Dr Ayşen Üstübici, Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations and Department of Sociology at Koç University and researcher on the MIGNEX project.


Migration and asylum issues remain at the top of the agenda for European policymakers and public alike. In this webinar series, Zooming in on Migration and Asylum, a group of EU-funded Horizon 2020 projects, ADMIGOV, MAGYC, TRAFIG and MIGNEX, have joined forces to expand our collective knowledge base on some of today’s most pressing dynamics, including protracted displacement, the notion of crisis in the field of migration and asylum, internal displacement, refugee-driven solutions, and alternatives to current migration governance. The series aims to facilitate evidence-based discussions and action at multiple levels.


This webinar series draws upon the research teams involved in different H2020 projects and their respective findings. The webinars are held once a month with the lead rotating between partners. Each 90-minute webinar will be conducted via the webinar platform Zoom and will feature a panel discussion followed by an audience Q&A.

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