Understanding Our Own Learning: Qualitative Research on the Migration Summit

By: Dilara Özel, Research and Teaching Assistant, Middle East Technical University

Qualitative analysis research was conducted using as inputs the interactions of attendees in the Zoom Chat and all Session transcripts summaries. This report gives an overview of the qualitative data findings from those documents. 



The aim of the qualitative analysis was to:

  • understand the benefits, individual (learning, behavior, etc.), and social (social networks, etc) dimensions of the summit
  • find out how participants experience the summit (whether they stated any benefits, individual or social)
  • explore the emergence and development of new collaborations based on their statements
  • explore the new observable benefits of the summit
  • identify ways to develop the summit content 


To answer those questions, session transcripts and the Zoom chat data recorded during the summit was analyzed. We wanted to learn if and how participants reflected on their experiences during the summit and if and how they have social and individual benefits. This approach helped the team to learn about participants’ experiences and allowed them to develop hypotheses to improve upcoming editions of the summit.

Research Design

The convergent mixed-method research design is where the qualitative and quantitative data were collected simultaneously but analyzed by different groups (Creswell & Creswell, 2018). The data consists of the session notes, the quantitative data acquired from participants during the registration, and the online data (online chat and interactions). It was aimed to understand and explore the participants’ experiences during the summit. Thus, both qualitative and quantitative components were utilized to attain more contextualized insights into the summit. Whereas the session notes and the online chat interactions enable information about the experiences of participants in addition to individual and social dimensions of the summit, the quantitative data provides information on the ecology of the summit by giving information about which countries they are participating from. The qualitative data was treated analytically and analyzed as one single data set.

Data Analysis

As Saldaña (2012) suggested, systematic coding (breaking down) was used for the data analysis process. A code system was created to reveal the relevant patterns in the data. Coded parts were grouped into more general categories to create sub-themes and themes. MAXQDA 2022.5 was used for the data analysis process. The reliability (replicability) was assured by providing quotations and insights for the data analysis process.


There are two themes that emerged as a result of the qualitative analysis; 1) refugee employment, 2) refugee adaptation. The first theme “refugee employment” has three codes: higher education, funds/scholarships, laws, and regulations. The second theme “refugee adaptation” has four codes: learning the language, learning the culture, collaboration, and creating spaces for refugees.

Participants mostly mentioned issues on refugee employment including higher education, funds, and partnerships. Under the refugee employment theme, participants described their experiences or raised questions regarding finding a secure job as a refugee. Participants discussed the employment opportunities in higher education for refugees. They exchanged ideas and contacts. Furthermore, they shared scholarship/ funding information from different agencies including the UN, and UNHCR to assist others. As a third code, participants reflected on their experiences as refugees while finding a job. Since laws and regulations are different in each country, it is hard for them to find a secure job in a country that they want to settle. Overall, the refugee employment theme paved the way for interaction and collaboration among participants worldwide. 

Participants highlighted the refugee adaptation process under four codes: adaptation, education, collaboration, and creating spaces for refugees. The code named “adaptation” has two subcodes: language learning and cultural adaptation. Participants draw attention to learning the language of the host country during the discussions. Since the presenters shared their projects regarding the learning process, participants raised questions regarding the language and how the presenters deal with the students who have multilingual backgrounds. 

Furthermore, participants were curious about how different projects deal with cultural diversity. In addition, they raised questions about the welcoming practices of international institutions. In addition to the participant’s comments and questions, there are speakers who commented on the importance of education for adaptation. Under the second code, it was commented that education is a vital component for refugees to achieve their goals. Under the third code, participants reflected on their experiences regarding collaboration and documentation. Participants stated that the documentation process could be a vital but difficult process for refugees. Thus, it will be useful to build collaboration between people who want to apply to a job or a university with people who graduated or already worked at certain companies. The last code named as “creating spaces refugees” highlights the importance of building areas for refugees to express themselves. It was commented that creating safe spaces for refugees supports their psychological resilience. In addition, it exposes the authenticity of refugee narratives.


All participants gave their consent to being recorded during the sessions. They have knowledge of recording the online chat as well. The qualitative data results contains no information allowing to link back to the participants. The demographics of the participants which may reveal their identity are not included in the present report. 



  • Creswell, J.W., & Creswell, J.D. (2018). Mixed methods procedures. In, Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (5th ed., pp. 213-246). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
  • Saldana, J. (2011). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. London: SAGE