Despite the increasing need for representative data on refugee health, refugees are underrepresented in health research in Germany and other European countries. Researchers often describe refugees as a hard-to-survey (or hard-to-reach) population. Labelling refugee populations with this phrase reflects the perspective of mainly local European researchers on a population they do not belong to. Moreover, refugees may not describe themselves with this phrase. Drawing upon my fieldwork experience as a member of the Syrian community in Germany who has conducted research with Syrian refugees, this practice paper challenges a common narrative among researchers in Europe in regard to refugee populations. I strongly recommend that researchers who are interested in conducting research with refugee populations involve them in all research design and implementation stages. I further call upon researchers to refrain from using the label ‘hard-to-survey’ to describe refugee populations before ensuring that they have done enough to engage with and involve their target population in their research.