Information and migration


Migration is a continuous and complex process, in which migrants and refugees take available information into account at various points in time and re-evaluate their migration destination(s). When said information is located, trusted, and effectively used, it may lead to decisions of continuing the journey, halting, or even turning back. Many migration decisions are actually only made when already en route.

For (mediated) information to become relevant, individuals first have to identify their own information needs. Migration aspirations, therefore, already need to be present. However, not all information about migration is deemed equally credible and not all migrants and refugees are equally effective in using the received information so that it can shape their migration decisions.

Migration decisions are, therefore, neither a one-time, executed, and completed act, nor do they follow the framework of the so-called ‘hypodermic needle theory’ or the ‘magic bullet theory’ (see Lowery & DeFleur 1988), where a simple stimulus (i.e., information from mass media) results in a predictable and final response (i.e., the decision to migrate).


Dekker, R., & Engbersen, G. (2014). How social media transform migrant networks and facilitate migration. Global Networks, 14(4), pp. 401–418.

Gillespie, M., Osseiran, S., & Cheesman, M. (2018). Syrian refugees and the digital passage to Europe: Smartphone infrastructures and affordances. Social Media+ Society, 4(1), DOI: 10.1177/2056305118764440.

Lowery, S., & DeFleur, M. L. (1988). Milestones in mass communication research: Media effects. Addison-Wesley Longman Ltd.

Schapendonk, J. (2012). Turbulent trajectories: African migrants on their way to the European Union. Societies, 2(2), pp. 27–41.

Migration-Related Risks Caused by Misconceptions of Opportunities and Requirement

MIRROR has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation action program under grant agreement No 832921.

© All rights reserved