Methodological innovations in studying multinational migrations

Anju Mary Paul, Brenda S.A. Yeoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A growing body of migration scholarship has highlighted the inadequacies of a single-origin, single-destination model for thinking about international migration in the 21st century. Multinational migrations—involving the varied movements of international migrants across more than one overseas destination with significant time spent in each overseas country—have been observed among high-skilled migrants, low-wage labour migrants, and documented and undocumented migrants. But given the extended temporality, multispatiality, and complexity of multinational migrations, the study of such onward movements can be fraught with difficulty. These methodological challenges must be added to the existing issues surrounding most international migration scholarship: methodological nationalism, essentialism, and skewed positionality. This special section highlights a range of research methods and approaches well suited to addressing these concerns. Collectively, the papers investigate various patterns of multinational migration across a range of migrant categories and spanning multiple world regions, addressing questions about the prevalence and drivers of these complex processes. They also offer a toolkit of methodological approaches—including mental mapping, trajectory analysis, attending to the family/household as the scale of analysis, multisited ethnographies, and longitudinal research—as suggested ways of studying multinational migrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-364
Number of pages10
JournalGeographical Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • methodological nationalism
  • methodology
  • migration scholarship
  • multinational migrations
  • multispatiality
  • temporality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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