We had the recent pleasure of welcoming to our office, Dr. Michaela Hynie and Anna Oda, academic researchers working on a study titled “Refugee Integration and Long-term Health Outcomes in Canada”.
The five-year pan-Canadian longitudinal study is funded by The Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), and is a partnership between the refugee settlement agencies and academic research institutions of three of Canada’s largest refugee resettlement provinces – British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.
Study: Refugee Integration and Long-term Health Outcomes in Canada
Outcome: Understand and Improve Integration Process of Refugees in Canada
The last three years have seen the greatest changes to the situation facing migrants and refugees since WW2, with more than 11 million Syrians killed or forced to flee their homes due to the country’s raging civil war. This unprecedented scale of displacement led to the Government of Canada resettling over 47,000 Syrian refugees since 2015, through a mix of government-assisted as well as private sponsorship programs.
Refugee resettlement and integration is a complex subject and each country has its own approach when it comes to supporting refugees from arrival to long-term integration. Many refugees have suffered violence, persecution, and loss from being torn away from their families, homes, and societies. These numerous sources of hardship and the stress of relocation make refugees prime candidates for health problems that can be improved, or made worse, by the nature of their integration experience.
In this study, Dr. Hynie and her team of academics, practitioners, and researchers including peer-researchers, who are Syrian refugees themselves, are delving into the refugee integration process and long-term physical and mental health outcomes in Canada. Resettled refugees coming through different settlement programs typically differ in terms of background characteristics (e.g. education), the nature of the social environment they settle into (e.g. rural versus urban), and their access to services. Little is known about how these differences interact to shape long-term integration pathways. If we knew more, we could shape resettlement programs to better fit individuals’ and families’ needs and ensure better long-term outcomes.
For the next four years, researchers will need to conduct face-to-face interviews with Syrian adults who resettled in Canada between 2015 and 2017. A dual-language tool is required to meet the participant’s language requirements. Interviews will need to be conducted across Canada, in the cities of Toronto, Kitchener, Montreal, Okanagan Valley, Vancouver, and Windsor. The first year survey is just shy of 300 questions and must be completed in under 90 minutes. Individuals’ responses to the first survey will need to be connected to their responses to the subsequent, briefer, surveys.
From Paper Forms to iPad Surveys
Due to the sensitive nature of the research, the volume of participants and length of study, Dr. Hynie and her team needed to do away with their old ways of research using paper-based surveys. They needed a robust and reliable mobile data capture solution. One with a user-friendly, dual-language interface that would yield precise answers from foreign-language speakers.
During their search for a mobile survey tool, Dr. Hynie and her team met with fellow York University Professor, Sarah Flicker who has been using QuickTapSurvey for several other research projects. Once they had a chance to test the product, they could immediately see how much their own study would benefit from the platform.
3 features that stood out:
True offline capability
Makes it easy to take the survey anywhere.
Helps collect data in the Syrian dialect of Arabic, the language participants are most comfortable with.
Provides a better picture of every respondent.
QuickTapSurvey Usage and Results
“We often work with populations that feel more comfortable completing surveys in a face-to-face interview format. With QuickTapSurvey we can easily collect these surveys in the field, show our participants the rating options or scales to help clarify the questions and answers, and reduce costs by saving on data entry and printing. In our most recent survey, we estimated that over the 4 years of data collection we saved about $25,000.”
Dr. Michaela Hynie
President, Canadian Association of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS) &
Faculty Member in the Department of Psychology and the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University
We were privileged to sit down with Dr. Hynie and Anna and hear them provide a firsthand account of their experience with QuickTapSurvey. We were thrilled to hear the results of the first survey, where research assistants met with newly settled refugees at their homes, hotels serving as their temporary residences and in community centers to conduct the interviews.
“QuickTapSurvey helped us interview Syrian refugees across Canada in a short period of time. Interviewers found the tool interactive and easy to use; they also noted that the majority of research participants enjoyed using it to answer research questions as it displayed the survey in English and Arabic.”
Project Coordinator, Refugee Integration and Long-term Health Outcomes in Canada study (CARFMS) & Registered Nurse
Our Support team gets a special mention
“From March to July 2017, the research team successfully interviewed 1,932 newly arrived Syrian refugees to learn about their migration and resettlement experience. What really stands out is the timely and helpful assistance QuickTapSurvey support team provides. The research team reached out multiple times to QuickTapSurvey support team who were amazingly helpful and who even scheduled a Skype call from their head office in Toronto with the research team.”
A Second Project is Underway
Owing to the success of the first project, Dr. Hynie is once again using QuickTapSurvey for a new research study in Rwanda where they are developing a new, easy to use screening tool for postnatal depression, which affects more than one in five women in Rwanda in the year following childbirth. Learn more about ‘A Community-Based Intervention for Maternal Mental Health in Rwanda’ here.
For more information on the important work, Dr. Hynie and her team are doing around refugee integration in Canada:
- Visit SyRIA.lth website: http://syrialth.apps01.yorku.ca/
- Like SyRIA.lth on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SyrialthToronto/
- Follow SyRIA.lth on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SyrialthToronto
Also published on Medium.