Conducting qualitative interviews in the context of an impact-oriented evaluation of ecoi.net
ecoi.net (European Country of Origin Information Network) collects information on countries of origin and makes it available on a globally accessible online platform to those persons who make decisions in asylum procedures, prepare them or represent asylum seekers - regardless of which country of origin is relevant for a decision. Ecoi.net is one of the largest databases worldwide and is operated by the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation (ACCORD), a department of the Austrian Red Cross, in cooperation with the Information Network Asylum & Migration.
ACCORD is conducting an evaluation of ecoi.net in order to show the impact of ecoi.net and to check the impact goals, but also to obtain concrete feedback on the use of the platform. In a first step, the Competence Center for Nonprofit Organisations and Social Entrepreneurship at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration was commissioned to conduct qualitative interviews with ecoi.net users.
It became particularly clear during the interviews that ecoi.net creates significant added value. This is true for the users and consequently also for asylum procedures. Although other platforms or internet search engines can also be used for research, ecoi.net was consistently described as the first and best way to conduct a query. In this context, ecoi.net was described as unique and particularly comprehensive. It can be assumed that the added value in the daily work of the users is largely due to ecoi.net and would not have arisen to the same extent through a search on other platforms.
For the various users of ecoi.net, there is added value in many respects with regard to their activities in the asylum procedure. On the one hand, this consists in the fact that the research with ecoi.net is facilitated and can thus be carried out more quickly. On the other hand, the added value for users is the high quality of the results of a search. The reasons for this are the high topicality and relevance of the content as well as the exclusive use of trustworthy sources.
There is no doubt that the above-mentioned advantages of ecoi.net for users result in a clear added value for the entire asylum procedure. For example, asylum procedures are accelerated due to the quick and easy research in the preparation and partly also in the implementation. If ecoi.net did not exist, the research would take considerably more time, which would lead to a prolongation of the procedures or the need to hire additional staff. Furthermore, the high quality of information and trustworthiness of sources leads to a higher quality of asylum procedures. Last but not least, it can be assumed that the above-mentioned factors will also lead to more fairness towards asylum seekers and, vice versa, towards the population of the state providing protection.