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Migrant families with children in Montreal, Canada and transnational family support: a protocol for a focused ethnography
  1. Lisa Merry1,2,
  2. Jill Hanley2,3,
  3. Monica Ruiz-Casares2,4,
  4. Isabelle Archambault5,
  5. Dominic Mogere6
  1. 1 Faculty of Nursing, University of Montreal, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  2. 2 SHERPA Research Centre, CIUSSS du centre-ouest-de-l'île-de-Montréal, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  3. 3 School of Social Work, McGill University, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  4. 4 Division of Social and Cultural Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  5. 5 School of Psychoeducation, University of Montreal, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  6. 6 School of Public Health, Mount Kenya University, Thika, Kenya
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lisa Merry; lisa.merry{at}


Introduction There is a gap in research regarding transnational family support (emotional, practical, spiritual, informational and financial) as a resource for migrant families with children. From the perspective of migrant families and their family back home, the objectives of this study are to (1) identify the types and ways that transnational family support is provided to migrant families in Canada; (2) assess for patterns in the data that may suggest variations in the nature of this support (eg, by migration status, time in Canada, children’s ages, family circumstances) and over time and (3) explore the impact (positive and negative) in receiving and providing transnational support, respectively.

Methods and analysis A focused ethnography is planned. We will recruit 25–35 migrant families with children with different migration histories (eg, economic or forced migration from a mix of countries) and family circumstances (eg, single parenthood, families living with extended family, families with children in the home country) living in Montreal, Canada. Families will be recruited through community organisations. Data will be gathered via semistructured interviews. To capture the perspective of those providing support, family members in the home country for each migrant family will also be recruited and interviewed through communication technology (eg, WhatsApp). Data collection will also involve observation of ‘transnational interactions’ between family members in Montreal and those back home. Data will be thematically analysed and results reported in a narrative form with an in-depth description of each theme.

Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval was obtained from the sciences and health research ethics committee at the University of Montreal. Study results will be shared through traditional forums (publication, conference presentations) and via other knowledge dissemination/exchange activities (eg, ‘lunch and learn conferences’ and seminars) through the research team’s research centres and networks to reach front-line care-providers who interface directly with migrant families.

  • international migration
  • transnationalism
  • family support
  • families with children
  • focused ethnography

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors LM conceived the idea of the study and drafted the protocol. JH, MRC, IA and DM contributed to the conceptualisation of the study and critically revised the protocol for intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This research is being supported by an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (430-2018-00198).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was obtained from the sciences and health ethics committee at the University of Montreal, the principal investigator’s (LM) home institution.

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

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