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Deficiencies in UK asylum data: practical and theoretical challenges

Stewart, Emma (2004) Deficiencies in UK asylum data: practical and theoretical challenges. Journal of Refugee Studies, 17 (1). pp. 29-49. ISSN 0951-6328

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Abstract

In the UK there is a lack of data on asylum and refugees, which creates practical and theoretical challenges for researchers within refugee studies. This paper reports on three substantive issues. Firstly an audit of available asylum data in the UK is presented. An evaluation of the data sources utilized by researchers reveals that there is a 'diet' of asylum and refugee data. This results in real practical challenges. Secondly, UK asylum data is compared with both Australian and Swedish data collection. Refugee and asylum variables are cross-tabulated with the publicly available data sources in each country. The analysis of a non-European and a European country highlights the deficiencies in UK data. The opinions of international bodies are also considered to evaluate the current UK situation. Finally, theoretical issues within refugee studies are identified to demonstrate potential future directions for data collection, in relation to key public policy issues. Areas needing attention include more detailed application data, gathering longitudinal information, economic and policy data, and better understanding of public opinions towards asylum seekers and refugees.