"We conducted a pilot study to explore refugee students’ access to and use of information during the settlement process. Using arts-based elicitation and semi-structured interview techniques, we probed the information world of a refugee student studying in Canada. Our findings begin to identify the scope and variety of information sources that students consult at various stages of settlement and their utility. Our continued work in this area seeks to assist the Student Refugee Program (SRP) on our campus to advocate for and meet the information needs of refugee students by understanding what information is needed, when it is needed, and how to provide optimal access to it."
"This exploratory pilot study is the beginning of a project to address these questions, with the goal of evaluating, designing and reconfiguring information sources and how they are delivered to facilitate essential information practices that aid the settlement process. We used a novel arts-based elicitation technique, Information World Mapping (IWM), and semi-structured interview to appreciate a refugee student’s information world and the role of information within it."
The authors assessed information access and use during three phases of settlement:
The Role of Information in the Settlement Experiences of Refugee Students (2016)
- Pre-migration stage or transitioning phase - Individuals gather information from many sources online and offline during pre-migration. There was an indication that our participant was not
equipped with accessible information about the city, university, and academic program policies prior to arrival.
- Immediate stage or settling in phase - This is followed by an immediate stage where basic language training, shelter and orientation needs are addressed. In addition to receiving orientation information, refugee students are also immersed in their course work right away, adding to their information load.
- Intermediate and integrative stages or settled phase - Next, newcomers enter an intermediate stage where they utilize local government and institutional resources for long-term basic needs. The final integrative stage sees newcomers comfortably making their own way. Juggling work and academic studies caused physical stress (e.g., lack of sleep) and mental anguish; our participant explained that money was a major concern that affected the capacity to study. The student’s schedule left little time for coursework, affected the ability to seek support from university services, participate in extracurricular activities, or form and maintain a social network.