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Table 2 Most promising strategies and lessons learned in response to barriers identified

From: Barriers and recruitment strategies for precarious status migrants in Montreal, Canada


Interpersonal strategies

Individual strategies

Institutional strategies

Infrastructural strategies

Adapting the research to participants

Administer the questionnaire in the presence of an interviewer who can restate and explain certain questions

Present the project material to business people and religious leaders (in language that is simple and accessible to all)

Have the research materials on hand to distribute when attending events

Use project materials that are appealing as well as linguistically and culturally appropriate


Difficulties in identifying and accessing the target public

Promote the sharing of information (mail/reports at regular intervals)

Have interviewers who are motivated, engaged, and available to work non-standard hours

Involve interviewers and members of the community and the target population in selecting the strategies

Hold regular reflective meetings among all team members

Focus on neighbourhoods with a high density of migrants and on highly affluent areas.

Suspicion towards the research team

Foster an approach that is collaborative and reciprocal, with personalized follow-up over the long term with community members

Have a diversified team of interviewers with good interpersonal skills

Implement strategies to identify the team and for communications

Set up a phone line to be reachable at all times

Make regular visits into the field

Focus on venues where people are in a frame of mind to be receptive to help, or where there is an environment of privacy and anonymity

Adapt recruitment schedules to the peak hours of the target population, particularly during community festivals

Ethical issues related to recruitment


Have interviewers who have had experiences with vulnerable populations, and who are empathic and good listeners

Provide reassurance and minimize the impact of certain stigmatizing questions (housing, habitat)

Verify the consistency of responses during data collection

Talk about the long-term benefits of the program

Train interviewers

Have a guide available to community resources adapted to people’s need

Put questions about migratory status at the end of the questionnaire

Give participants a choice regarding the location and the interviewer

Issues related to culture and gender

Socialize and learn about the other members of the team

Have mixed teams in the field (gender, culture, language, age) and bilingual interviewers


Use a targeted approach for certain communities that are less inclined to respond in the public space

Logistic challenges in the field


Use simple language adapted to the people encountered

Define the role of the field coordinator (as motivator and time manager)

Set up visible and attractive kiosks, and fun activities to attract the attention of participants (balls, games)