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Researching Multilingually: Some Challenges and Complexities from Different Disciplines (CTIS Seminar, 7 th March 2013) Jane Andrews (The University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Researching Multilingually: Some Challenges and Complexities from Different Disciplines (CTIS Seminar, 7 th March 2013) Jane Andrews (The University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Researching Multilingually: Some Challenges and Complexities from Different Disciplines (CTIS Seminar, 7 th March 2013) Jane Andrews (The University of the West of England) Richard Fay (The University of Manchester) on behalf also of …. Prue Holmes (Durham University) Mariam Attia (The University of Manchester) Project funded by the AHRC as part of the Translating Cultures strand (project ref. no. AH/J005037/1)

2 The Research Network (1) 1.Background to our interest in researching multilingually 2.Our AHRC research network 3.Some illustrative case studies 4.Policy implications 5.Pedagogic implications Initial Encounters Exploratory Seminar (Durham 2010) AHRC Networking Project (2012)

3 The Research Network (2) Research Theme - Translating Cultures … translation is an essential tool in ensuring that languages, values, beliefs, histories and narratives can be mutually shared and comprehended. We need to consider not only the complex mechanisms of translating one language into another, but also more broadly how cultural exchange and transmission functions in a variety of circumstances and periods, including communication and miscommunication, multiculturalism, toleration and migration. aspx

4 Our Research Network Objectives 1.examine the experiences of researchers in translating, interpreting, and writing up collected and generated data (dialogic, mediated, virtual, textual) from one language to another; 2.explore ethical issues in the representation of data across more than one language; 3.identify methods and techniques that improve processes of researching multilingually; and 4.develop recommendations and guidelines for researching multilingually that can be implemented by all researchers, and research training programmes.

5 Case Study 1 (Polishing the translations) Ana Beaven (2012) Methodological issues concerning research on plurilingual online communication. Paper presented at a seminar on Researching Multilingually, 25 th -26 th April, University of the West of England, UK. Research focus:Modern foreign languages, study abroad experience Languages:Italian and English Data source:Italian / UK students online interactions Researcher background:Fluency in Italian and English

6 Themes relating to opportunities and challenges during the process of researching: Meeting the requirements of PhD research – where to put the Italian texts? How to use footnotes? Researcher professionalism leading to action – Ana returned to her data whilst writing to polish the translations, she consulted her sister Researcher responsibility to her participants – Ana was concerned with how she represented the voices of her research participants given the communicative affordances of online communication – fluidity of communication

7 Case Study 2 (this is just the consent form) Kyra Pollitt (2012) No this isnt the data analysis: this is just the consent form: researching in two languages and two modalities Paper presented at a seminar on Researching Multilingually, 25 th -26 th April, University of the West of England, UK. Research focus:Deaf Studies, collaborative research with deaf researchers Languages:British sign language and standard written and spoken English Data source:researcher and participant researcher interactions Researcher background:Fluency in BSL & standard written and spoken English

8 Case Study 2 Themes relating to institutional constraints encountered during the research processes: Tensions – institutional requirements relating to ethics/informed consent presumed and prioritised written and oral processes over visual / multimodal methods Communications preferences of participants would be visual – challenge of archiving this form of consent Technological barriers to producing visual consent forms – it is possible but not expected or planned for – not the norm

9 Case Study 3 (researcher agency) Mariam Attia (2012) Reflective practice in research undertaken multilingually Paper presented at a seminar on Researching Multilingually, 25 th -26 th April, University of the West of England, UK. Research focus:Teacher education in context of Arabic teaching in Egypt Languages:Arabic, English Data source:qualitative data, analysed through a software package Researcher background:multilingual researcher fluent in Danish, Arabic, English, expertise in educational technologies

10 Case Study 3 Potential constraints faced during the research process: Software package in use presumed English language texts would be input and analysed/coded using Roman script Researcher agency – Mariam questioned this assumption – why analyse in English? Why translate before analysing? Why code in English? Approach to software company opened up a dialogue following which the facility for inputting data in additional scripts was added Researcher agency challenged the norm embedded within packages providing technological support for dealing with qualitative data

11 Case Study 4 Olga Campbell Thomson (2012) Alignment of tandem language data in an English language thesis. Paper presented at a seminar on Researching Multilingually, 25 th -26 th April, University of the West of England, UK. Research focus:language education in Northern Cyprus, national identity construction within texts and discourses Languages:Turkish, English Data source:interviews in Turkish, textbooks in Turkish Researcher background:a multilingual researcher with experience of working in different educational and linguistic environments

12 Case Study 4 Opportunities and institutional constraints encountered: Diverse interpretations of the informed consent process – requirements and normative practices within UK HE (validated by universities, professional & academic bodies e.g. British Education Research Association) may not convey same meanings when translated Use of Turkish data in the written thesis – how much to include? Meeting the diverse preferences and requirements of the readers - put it in a footnote! Researcher responsibility – allowing readers to have a sense of the data Institutional regulations – word count (a norm in UK HE but not everywhere e.g. the USA)

13 Case Study (5a) Could I do my interviews in Chinese? she asked … even though studying in an English-medium research environment, researchers often have multilingual and (inter)cultural resources and repertoires of value and appropriacy for their research … [elsewhere] But am I allowed to do that? … such resources are often viewed as obstacles to be overcome as something requiring permission ……rather than as affordances to be embraced, purposefully utilised, and transparently discussed … And should I translate them or transcribe them first? … through such Qs, we began to realise the under-discussed complexities of doing research multilingually … even though we so often have/choose to write about it in English …

14 Case Study (5b) Extracts from Xiaoweis researcher story: During [my complex development as a researcher], … I also learnt to make decisions for my research and ask myself why regarding each decision, a habit gradually developed along with my in-depth immersion in the research methodology literature, discussions with my supervisors, and engagement in different kinds of academic activities. So, I began to question myself more than before. Yes, I continued to read literature written in English … and wait – is this literature neutral or does it convey any Western-biases? Is there any discussion in my mother tongue which proposes alternative views regarding my conceptual focuses (e.g. culture, intercultural communication) and research methodology? Yes, I continued to receive supervision in English … and wait – why was I making notes of the supervisory meetings in both English and Mandarin? Were there any discrepancies when I tried to note down the English concepts in Mandarin? Yes, I generated data in Mandarin, and then analysed and interpreted them … and wait – why was I coding the data bilingually? Were my interpretations based on my Mandarin-medium and English-medium experiences?

15 Case Study (5c) [ … ] When I explored relevant literature, I looked for works written in both English and Mandarin, including works regarding the concepts of culture /, intercultural communication /, and narrative inquiry /. I found that the Mandarin-written literature in these areas resonate with that written in English to a large extent rather than providing me with many interestingly alternative insights … My exploration of the Mandarin-medium literature [re culture] As I set out on my study and realised the potential advantage of my bilingual background, I began to also explore relevant literature written in Mandarin. First, I examined the contemporary Mandarin-medium literature on – the Mandarin equivalent for culture and a phrase existing in Mandarin for more than two thousand years. I noted two characteristics of this literature: it includes different definitions of [culture], definitions which seemed to me similar to what I had learnt from the English-medium literature; and it tends to associate culture with countries or larger geographical entities, including [Chinese culture] and [Western culture].

16 Case Study (6a) Davcheva, L. and Fay, R. (2012). Reflections on collaborative research about one language (Ladino) through fieldwork in another (Bulgarian) and analysis, presentation and researcher collaboration largely in a third (English). Tales of Ladino - Identity-performance of Sephardic Jews in Bulgaria a. … exploration of the narrativised understandings of 14 middle-aged / elderly Sephardic Jews in Bulgaria re Ladino b.3 languages: Ladino, Bulgarian and English c.Narrative methodology (involving e.g. restorying) d.Collaborative: 2 researchers (no explicit researcher hierarchy) e.Intercultural (involving researchers with differing linguistic and cultural backgrounds) f.Reflexive (reciprocal reflexivity managed through researcher stories - of Ladino experiences and of being researchers) g.Diverse audiences for research presentation / report

17 Case Study (6b) Four spaces for mapping the RM aspects of the study: o the researched space (complex linguistic space in which Ladino functions co-territorially with e.g. Bulgarian, Turkish, etc) o the research space (field and desk) o the researcher (collaborative) space; and o the research presentation / representation space. Exemplifying the Research Space re data generation /processing: 1. Storytelling encounter 2. Bulgarian transcript 3. Bulgarian restorying 4. Raw English restorying 5. polished English restorying.

18 Case Study (7a) For my Doctoral research, I am exploring adolescent Indian Street childrens understandings of their experiences. I hope to gain insight into their perceptions and understandings of their needs and the means they employ to address those needs in order to identify ways in which I can help them further. My Instinctive Preference: I think in English and prefer to articulate my experience of things in English, unless I cant quite capture the essence of something in English and have a better word or phrase in Punjabi. I grew up speaking English and Punjabi with my parents and family, and developed my proficiency in Hindi in boarding school. Equally, I value being able to hold conversations in Punjabi and Hindi, because I enjoy talking to people from all walks of life. I am glad that I am able to do so, so that I can engage with people who cant speak English, and really get to hear them. I have noticed that I tend to use a lot more metaphors to express myself in Hindi and Punjabi than I do in English. And thats about me trying to articulate clearly, concretely, and in a manner that is more accessible to the person and myself so as not to misunderstand one another.

19 Case Study (7b) My field notes will be in English. But, I could take measures to make a note of specific words or phrases participants use to emphasise or express their experiences in order to capture their linguistic elements along with my understandings. Additionally, I need to be aware of the moments when I switch from one language to another, be able to reflect on my intention behind that, and explore what I might be naturally assuming. ………….. In case I cannot speak a participants preferred language, I will need to take methodological decisions to either employ an interpreter or recruit only Hindi, Punjabi- or English-speaking participants. I can respect and accept that this may be the case. This will constitute one complexity that will need to tackle with care during the data generation phase of the research.

20 Case Study (7c) Data from Pilot Study Interview …. conducted with two 14-year old girls over two encounters. Before they found themselves at the NGO Childrens Home where I met with them, one was from Bihar and another from South India. I transcribed the taped encounters, then transliterated the transcribed version, and then translated the transcription into English (Phew!) What I ended up with / learned …. Translations: I am very aware of the choices I made and why I made them, and I am now thinking about how powerful I want to make the English translations. I decided to: do everything in Hindi (manage all my data- transcribing, analysis, re-story), and provide descriptions in English, e.g. when discussing Theme x, give the Hindi text, the transliteration, and the translation into English. Processing the performances- co-construction of different types: I will need to write about my influence in the co-construction, about my editorial decisions in creating the prose stories and why I took these decisions, and I will need to demonstrate consistency and transparency in doing so.

21 Policy Possibilities (1) Fay, R. and Holmes, P. (2012). Acknowledging and making space for multilingual research design and practice: Towards a policy statement, Paper 4 of the Mapping multilingualism in research practice: the view from two research networks Colloquium at the BAAL Annual Meeting 2012, Southampton, UK, 6 th September, ESRC Framework for Research Ethics BERA Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research a UK University Code of Good Research Conduct + School of Education Ethical Practice: policy and guidance BAAL Recommendations on Good Practice in Applied Linguistics + recommendations applied to student projects BAAL Guidelines for the use of language analysis in relation to questions of national origin in refugee cases An exploration - not a critique - of, such resources with view to framing possible guidelines for researching multilingually

22 Policy Possibilities (2) Principles underpinning Research Practice: e.g. transparency e.g. clear, transparent, appropriate and effective procedures [ESRC FRE, pg.3] "All aspects of research [including the multilingual?] should be reported in enough detail to allow other applied linguists to understand and interpret them". [BAAL, EGPAL, pg.12] Research should be designed in a way that the dignity and autonomy of research participants is protected and respected at all times" [FRE, pg.3] [respected linguistically?]

23 Policy Possibilities (3) Opportunities to make the linguistic explicit? when informants differ from the researcher in the social groups they belong to, it is worth seeking guidance on social, cultural, religious and other practices which might affect relationships and the willingness to participate [EGPAL, pg.4] [add linguistic?] Individuals should be treated fairly, sensitively and with dignity, and within an ethic of respect and freedom from prejudice regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, class, nationality, cultural identity, partnership status, faith, disability, political belief or any other significant difference [EGER] [add linguistic?]

24 Policy Possibilities (4) Challenging English-only dissemination? "[researchers] must endeavour to communicate their findings and the practical significance of their work, in a clear and straightforward fashion, and in language appropriate for the intended audience [EGER] "While it may be unavoidable that there is a bias towards work that is both in English and about English in a British association, applied linguists should also try to ensure proper weight is given in both teaching and research to work published in and about other languages." [EGPAL, pg.12]

25 Policy Possibilities - Forms of Words ? "We, the undersigned linguists, recognize that...." [GULA] "the underpinning aim of the guidelines is to enable educational researchers to weigh up all aspects of the process of conducting educational research within any given context... and to reach an ethically acceptable position in which their research actions are considered justifiable and sound" [EGER, Preamble] "the underpinning aim of the RM-ly guidelines is to enable researchers to weigh up all the opportunities for, complexities of and constraints mitigating against the process of conducting research multilingually within any given context... and to reach an ethically acceptable position in which their RM-ly actions are considered justifiable and sound".

26 Towards Guidelines – Initial Conceptualisation 1. We have been exploring the conceptual affordances of the term Developing Researcher Competence, which can be understood as researcher intentionality (or purposefulness), and, in turn, that can be understood to comprise awareness + awareness-informed action. 2. The Guidelines might seek to inculcate RM-ly awareness (for all involved in the research endeavours) as a first step towards enabling purposeful research practice vis-a-vis the possibilities for, complexities of, constraints mediating against, researching multilingually. 3. The Guidelines might aspire to support researcher agency vis-a-vis the possibilities for, complexities of, constraints mediating against researching multilingually, i.e. support awareness-informed action. "[research leaders] must also ensure that appropriate supervision and mentoring of all researchers are provided, taking special account of the needs of new researchers" [CGRC, pg.5]

27 Researcher Education Possibilities (1) I first realised that I could, in the sense of having the permission to, conduct my Doctoral research multilingually when [my supervisor] explained the way in which I could handle my multilingual data. Being permitted to present the data in its original language within the thesis surprised me to the extent of not believing it at first. At the risk of sounding silly, when addressing the issue about multilingual data during my mock [progression] Panel, I became fearful of being asked questions to which I had not yet found methodological answers, and [therefore] stated the common practice of translating data into English, thereby reluctantly adopting the dominant discourse of presenting the English translations and minimising the focus on the multilingual aspects of the data. After a second tutorial and reconfirmation, I decided to set foot on beginning to understand my experience of engaging in multilingual research.

28 Researcher Education Possibilities (2) Developing researcher competence / intentionality (purposefulness) 1) realising that RM is indeed possible and permissible. not always apparent as researchers (e.g. doctoral candidates) negotiate the geopolitics of academic writing/publishing, and supervisory practices in an often Anglo-centric world of research dissemination). 2) exploring the multilingual possibilities. ….. e.g. a) the researched context/phenomena; b) the research context; c) the researcher resources; and d) the representational possibilities. 3) making informed choices about: ( i) research design and implementation; and (ii) (re)presentation.


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