Measuring Transnational Social Fields Through Binational Link-Tracing Sampling

Marian-Gabriel Hancean, Miranda Jessica Lubbers, Jose Luis Molina


We advance bi-national link-tracing sampling design, an innovative data collection methodology for sampling from transnational social fields, i.e., transnational networks embedding migrants and non-migrants. This presentation shows the practical challenges of such a design, the representativeness of the samples and the qualities of the resulted networks. We performed 303 face-to-face structured interviews on sociodemographic variables, migration trajectories and personal networks of people living in a Romanian migration sending community (Dâmbovița) and in a migration receiving Spanish town (Castellón), simultaneously in both sites. Inter-connecting the personal networks, we built a multi-layered complex network structure embedding 4,855 nominated people, 5,477 directed ties (nominations) and 2,540 edges. Results indicate that the participants’ unique identification is a particularly difficult challenge, the representativeness of the data is not optimal (homophily on observed attributes was detected in the nomination patterns), and the relational and attribute data allow to explore the social organization of the Romanian migrant enclave in Castellón, as well as its connectivity to other places. Furthermore, we provide methodological suggestions for improving link-tracing sampling from transnational networks of migration. Our research contributes to the emerging efforts of applying social network analysis to the study of international migration.

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