How Methodology Makes Topics: Ageing Immigrants as a Blind Spot in the Migration Research in Austria. A Research Note


  • Ursula Trummer Center for Health and Migration, Vienna
  • Sonja Novak-Zezula Center for Health and Migration, Vienna



guest workers, ageism, immigration policies, migration patterns, expert interviews


The current research note describes a process where by applying the qualitative method of expert interviews, researchers got confronted with a new topic in their area of expertise that was not on the radar of their research. In the framework of an evaluation study on health promotion interventions for migrants in an urban setting, researchers applied a mixed methods approach. Quantitative element was a self-assessment tool, where providers of health promotion measures described their clientele and rated the quality of their services along given categories. Qualitative element was a series of semi-structured interviews with management and front line service providers. While the self-assessment tool delivered expected results, the interviews revealed an aspect concerning needs and problems of a migrant group researchers had not thought of before. This is the group of immigrants from the 1960ies, coming mainly from Turkey and Former Yugoslavia, now reaching or having reached retirement age. This group was reported as being extremely vulnerable and at risk of a double discrimination as being “old” and “migrant”.

Desk research was conducted in reaction to such data, showing that information on this group is scarce. Given the demographic developments with rising shares of (old) aged immigrants living in Austria, it will be important to improve the respective knowledge base.