The Role of Digital Skills in Refugee Integration: A State-of-the-Art Review Article

Potocky, M. (2021). The Role of Digital Skills in Refugee Integration: A State-of-the-Art Review . 5(5), 69-108. 10.33137/ijidi.v5i5.37514

cited authors

  • Potocky, M



  • Two concurrent 21st-century phenomena—the nearly unprecedented number of forced migrants and the near-ubiquity of information and communications technology—have given rise to increased scholarship in “digital migration studies.” One area of investigation in this emergent interdisciplinary field is the role of digital skills in refugee integration. Given the accelerated global reliance on technology resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the author conducted a state-of-the-art literature review to identify emerging issues and highlight research needs in this area. A search of 10 databases yielded 39 studies spanning the major resettlement regions (North America, Western Europe, Oceania) and including refugees from across the globe. The inclusion criteria were studies focused on refugees’ practical use of digital technology in integration, published from January 2020-April 2021. Exclusion criteria were studies on refugees in transit or protracted displacement, digital connectivity and accessibility, use of digital technology by humanitarian actors, software development, analyses of digital representations of refugees, public attitudes toward refugees as expressed in digital media, and literature reviews. Ndofor-Tah et al.’s (2019) Refugee Integration Framework was used to organize and synthesize the findings. The studies demonstrated how digital skills affect all domains of integration. Additionally, the studies confirm that many refugees in resettlement have limited digital skills for necessary integration tasks, such as navigating websites and assessing the credibility of online information. Limitations of this state-of-the-art review include its cross-sectional nature, having only one reviewer, and only published literature accessible online through public websites or subscription databases. An important emerging issue for future research is assessing, teaching, and learning digital skills among this population. The study’s contributions to the knowledge base and theory, and its implications for information science scholars and practitioners and those in allied disciplines within digital migration studies, are discussed

publication date

  • January 1, 2021

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 69

end page

  • 108


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