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Reflections of methodological and ethical challenges in conducting research during COVID-19 involving resettled refugee youth in Canada
  1. Zoha Salam1,
  2. Elysee Nouvet2,
  3. Lisa Schwartz3
  1. 1 Department of Global Health, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 School of Health Studies, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3 Health Research Methods, Evidence & Impact, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Zoha Salam, Department of Global Health, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada; zohas{at}


Research involving migrant youth involves navigating and negotiating complex challenges in order to uphold their rights and dignity, but also all while maintaining scientific rigour. COVID-19 has changed the global landscape within many domains and has increasingly highlighted inequities that exist. With restrictions focusing on maintaining physical distancing set in place to curb the spread of the virus, conducting in-person research becomes complicated. This article reflects on the ethical and methodological challenges encountered when conducting qualitative research during the pandemic with Syrian migrant youth who are resettled in Canada. The three areas discussed from the study are recruitment, informed consent and managing the interviews. Special attention to culture as being part of the study’s methodology as an active reflexive process is also highlighted. The goal of this article is to contribute to the growing understanding of complexities of conducting research during COVID-19 with populations which have layered vulnerabilities, such as migrant youth. This article hopes that the reflections may help future researchers in conducting their research during this pandemic by being cognizant of both the ethical and methodological challenges discussed.

  • COVID-19
  • minorities
  • research ethics
  • research on special populations
  • social aspects

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  • Contributors ZS was involved in the conceptualisation and execution of the study; writing the first draft; making necessary edits based on feedback from coauthors and handling comments from reviewers. EN was involved in the conceptualisation of the study and edited the manuscript. LS provided insight on the first draft of the manuscript and made edits.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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