The Challenges and Rewards of International Research and Training

The following video interviews examine some of the challenges and rewards of international collaborative and comparative research experienced by teams of senior and junior researchers as they investigated the pathways that children of immigrants follow through European and American schools into higher education and the labor market. The researchers discuss

  • integrating the goals of education and research;
  • identifying contributions of international and comparative research;
  • balancing mentoring and research;
  • combining research and resolving issues of joint authorship; and
  • disentangling research concepts and social identities.

The director of the SSRC’s Migration Program, Josh DeWind, interviews project members about their experiences and lessons learned. The Children of Immigrants in Schools project was supported by the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) Program and by the Nuffield Foundation.

Project Overview: Combining International Education and Comparative Research

After introducing the project’s international and comparative goals, this interview with four of the project’s fifteen participants examines the following:

  • Project organization (the best-laid plans…)
  • The development of a theoretical framework
  • The value of international perspectives: mutual reflection
  • Collaborative writing
  • The synthesis of comparative research findings
  • Why the findings matter: implications for European and American societies

More than just revealing divergent outcomes due to national differences, the research unexpectedly showed that native-born groups in each country use schooling to retain advantages over the children of immigrants—an outcome likely to exacerbate future shortages of qualified workers in Europe and the United States.

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Identifying the Contributions of International Comparative Research

The project’s principal investigator, Richard Alba, points to the challenges of managing a large-scale international project and the insights that can result from a comparative perspective. In particular, he notes

  • the importance of comparative research for migration studies; and
  • what American researchers can learn from the “mirror” of international comparisons.
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Finding a Balance between Mentoring and Research

Co-Principal Investigator Carola Suárez-Orozco discusses the tensions project leaders experienced between group and individual research goals.

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Combining Research and Resolving Issues of Authorship

Post-doctoral Fellow Dalia Abdel-Hady discusses how she and other researchers were able to strengthen their research findings by combining quantitative and qualitative research methods employed by different project members, and how they resolved resulting complications of how to attribute authorship for articles the researchers needed for individual career advancement. The video is divided into the following sections:

  • Different methods, different results
  • Collaborative writing
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Disentangling Research Concepts and Social Identities

Pre-doctoral Fellow Anne Rios reviews some of the complications of social identity encountered in researching educational processes. She discusses

  • the researcher’s identity in the research process; and
  • what the team learned from international comparisons: the implications of how teachers essentialize student identities.
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  • State University of New York at Albany