Interview and administering a PhD questionnaire in Malmö, Sweden – Ekeoma Onuoha, Abrahamson

Having seen the most riveting images, reports and articles of the international press concerning the vulnerability of children and young adult who take the risk of their life crossing frontier to enter the European Union 28 member States, I strongly believe that effective legal protection regime should be put in place.

Having also studied, analyzed and compared national and supra-national protection laws made for integrating and incorporating foreign children, I convinced myself that there is need to find out from the horse’s mouth, that is, minors and youths who benefit from welfare services whether they are integrated or not.

Having also had a vast interview with social workers in Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Greece, Finland Holland, Germany and Italy, I believe it´s time to deepen our knowledge about the daily lives of our future generation, for without them, there is no future.

Like other PhD projects, my PhD project has its central focus and that has made me to endure unexpected changes that occur in my fieldwork and the process of administering questionnaires.

To start interviewing a social worker is like confronting a judge who may have a different perception about your investigation, no matter how simple or specialized. Social workers are judges in their own right. This is the key to meeting them. In their particularized specialized function, no one beats a social worker except in some cases the boss who call the shorts.

Therefore, if you want your interview to succeed before a social worker, don’t take her friendliness as an invitation to do as you wish. In some cases, your friendliness maybe interpreted against you. Try to explain. You may also attempt to explain (3 times) the importance of your work to the whole organization and how you will spotlight his or her personality globally.

Explain to the social workers and attendants present, that there is no right or wrong answers to your questionnaire and that all data will be protected. You will get more attention, ceteres paribus. In this way, it was possible for me to impress it on my hosts that their contributions are also very important.

During this process of my research, I have avoided the use of the word (investigator or doing investigation), because they sound like an invasion of privacy of the social worker. Not everybody will agree with me on this, researchers have never agreed in many cases so I don’t expect them to agree with me.

If you think you are smart, always tell them that you are an investigator. They will repeat the word for you to confirm; look at each others’ face or smile. This simple reaction will follow you till the end. I hereby appeal to readers of this topic to tell us their experiences. Have you had a similar or different experience? Tell us.


Ekeoma Onuoha Abrahamson, PhD cand. University of Valencia


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