The Taxonomy of Migration Studies - what it is and how to use it

2020-03-14 19:11:31

The core aim of the Migration Research Hub is to bring all knowledge of migration under one roof. To make it easier for the users to navigate this vast world of knowledge about migration and related themes, the entire research output assembled in this platform was categorised according to the taxonomy of migration research, that was created with expert input. In this blog post, we present three different ways to use this taxonomy.

Broadening your research horizons and reaching out to unknown fields

The knowledge production in the field of migration and diversity studies has intensified tremendously in the past decades (Pisarevskaya et. al., 2019), the amount of new research is so large that it is very difficult for academic researchers, let alone policymakers, to stay fully informed about everything that has been published in scientific journals and grey literature.

Taxonomy categories already collect all the relevant research within the topics that are new for you. When starting a new project outside your usual research expertise, the taxonomy helps you to find the latest and most prominent research, which has already been collated by topical experts. No need to spend hours searching for term synonyms, variations and combinations of the key search concepts. Academic experts specialised on that topic have already done this for you.

The taxonomy also allows researchers to discover research on familiar topics published outside the journals they usually read or research groups they are part of, thus, expanding the horizons of scientific knowledge. Via the taxonomy tree, you can select a topic of interest; by applying filters, you can browse through research in disciplines and methods previously unfamiliar to you. This can stimulate innovative thinking and spark interdisciplinary dialogue.

Having a clearer overview of your funding opportunities

The taxonomy can be useful for funding agencies as well as researchers applying for funding in the area of migration and diversity. By focusing only on “Projects” within the database, you can explore the topics which are most popular among funding organisations, and those which have not yet received much attention. Thus this classification system could help you to propose innovative research avenues when applying for research grants, while it can help research funders avoid repeatedly funding projects on the same topics, making them more aware of the research knowledge gaps and where there is need for financial support to initiate or expand research.

Supporting educational goals 

Moreover, the taxonomy is an excellent tool for students at the undergraduate and graduate level. When they first approach research on migration and diversity,  they can, by exploring the taxonomy,  learn about the variety of migration drivers, or diverse actors and levels of migration governance, and the different migration forms that can be identified. In the taxonomy, there is a short definition of those topics, and others and the most relevant literature is already collected. In this way, students can use the Migration Research Hub to carry out their literature review for essays or theses. Lecturers and students alike can trust this classification, as the taxonomy was created by migration research experts, who already thought of the possible combinations of search terms which need to be used to find relevant literature on each topic.

The creation of the taxonomy

During the first year of the project, scholars from the CrossMigration project, the IMISCOE network and from our non-EU advisory board, representing various disciplines, worked hard on building a theoretically-robust classification system for migration research. The process combined inductive machine-generated topical mapping of the field, and deductive theory-based structuring of categories. The structuring and labelling of the topics, methods and disciplines underwent multiple reviews and revisions from external experts working in the project’s thematic working groups and conferences. You can learn about how the taxonomising algorithm functions on the background of the platform from this interview with Young Minds.

Translation of the taxonomy

Academic experts in migration who are native Spanish, German and French speakers have translated the taxonomy into their own language. The translated taxonomy can be accessed from the taxonomy page by using the language switcher in the upper-right corner. 

This makes it easier to access relevant knowledge for users who work and study in those languages, for example, undergraduate students. And switching between the languages one can also learn the equivalents of the terms in other languages. 

In the database, there is also a filter option for languages. When you click on the topic from a translated taxonomy, the results of the entire database (in all languages) will appear, but if you want to access only knowledge written in a specific language, the search results can be filtered by language located on the right side of the results page.

Currently, most of the publications available in the Migration Research Hub are in English. So we are inviting researchers and scholars who work in other languages to register in the Migration Research Hub  - and submit your publications so that we can reach our goal of bringing all knowledge of migration under one roof and support internationalisation of migration studies.

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