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Becoming aware of the possibilities and complexities of researching multilingually Mariam Attia (The University of Manchester) Prue Holmes (Durham University)

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Presentation on theme: "Becoming aware of the possibilities and complexities of researching multilingually Mariam Attia (The University of Manchester) Prue Holmes (Durham University)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Becoming aware of the possibilities and complexities of researching multilingually Mariam Attia (The University of Manchester) Prue Holmes (Durham University) Richard Fay (The University of Manchester) Jane Andrews (University of the West of England) Aston English Research Seminar Series, Aston University 27 February 2013

2 Outline Part I: Insight from the literature Part II: Insights from the Researching Multilingually project Part III: Insights from your own experiences

3 Part I Insights from the literature

4 Researcher mobility especially in relation to internationalization of higher education (Rizvi, 2011) Advances in ICT -> an unprecedented progress in transnational onsite and online learning (Gu & Schweisfurth, 2011; Rizvi, 2011) As globalization continues to connect diverse cultural and linguistic communities -> deeper understanding of the processes of cross-language research (Halai, 2007)

5 Insights from the literature Studies that focus on multilingualism itself, for example, in the field of linguistic ethnography (Martin-Jones & Gardner, 2012) Interpreters/ translators as active members of the research process (Temple & Edwards, 2002) -> Co-researchers Interpreters/ translator roles to cover both data collection and analysis for purposes of safeguarding validity (Tsai et al., 2004)

6 Insights from the literature Reading and writing across languages can pose challenges to researchers -> disempowerment by established practices for academic writing within predominantly mono-lingual academic contexts (Magyar and Robinson- Pant, 2011) Supervisors may discard unfamiliar writing (Robinson-Pant, 2009) -> Advise against consulting literature in languages other than English

7 Insights from the literature Shapes researcher conception of what constitutes good literature (Magyar & Robinson-Pant, 2011) -> informs future decisions as to language choice for research dissemination The geopolitics of academic writing and publishing (Canagarajah, 2002) Conflict as to whether to write for an international audience or for ones local community (Duszak & Lewkowicz, 2008)

8 Insights from the literature Halai (2007) -> workload doubles in the case of full translations, subtle meanings may be lost, and lack of suitable multilingual data analysis software Shklarov (2007) -> Multilingual researcher are able to mediate between different linguistic systems, point out areas of methodological complexity, and develop higher levels of ethical sensitivity

9 Insights from the literature Shklarov (2007) -> situated ethical understandings may not conform to established institutional practices Magyar & Robinson-Pant (2011): surprisingly little attention was paid to the effects of imposing standard ethics procedures and academic writing conventions on research that is to be conducted and read in a different cultural context (p. 674) Cross-language research and the importance of reflexivity (e.g., Giampapa & Lamoureux, 2011; Magyar & Robinson- Pant, 2011; Temple & Edwards, 2002)

10 Part II: Insights from the Researching Multilingually project

11 The beginning.. Intercultural Pedagogy seminar at the University of Sheffield (2009) -> Richard Fay (The University of Manchester) and Mike Byram (Durham University) Students developing sense of appropriate methodology for cross-language research (Mandarin and English) -> was not an aspect of research methodology on which there was much discussion

12 Realisation Many research endeavours invite the use of more than one language Opportunities and complexities are not widely discussed in the research methods literature or research training courses

13 Finding a focus Durham Exploratory Seminar (July 2010) Many (often missed) opportunities for researching multilingually Complexities -> from initial thinking to dissemination Researchers (and their supervisors, examiners, publishers, etc) typically had limited or no supportive materials Researching multilingually vs. researching multilingualism Relationships with translation studies and linguistic ethnography

14 Insights further developed Two Colloquia given at the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL, 2011, and 2012) The AHRC Researching Multilingually project (December November 2012)

15 The Project Objectives: Explore the possibilities for and complexities of researching multilingually (within predominantly English language contexts) Examine researcher reflections on, and developing awareness of, processes of researching multilingually Identify from their insights methods and techniques that effectively manage multilingual processes

16 The Project

17 Research Questions RQ.1: How is researcher awareness developed vis-à-vis the processes of researching multilingually? RQ.2: What possibilities and complexities are researchers aware of in relation to their multilingual research practice? RQ.3: What implications does this have for researcher development?

18 Data Analysis Thematic analysis of 25 online profiles and 35 presentations Identifying particularities and commonalities

19 Developing Awareness RQ.1: How is researcher awareness developed vis-à-vis the processes of researching multilingually? Discussions with their supervisors Under […]s supervision, I gradually noticed so many things to which I had been blind, such as relevant literature written in Mandarin, similar research studies undertaken in Mandarin with unique methodological insights and the potential of richer interpretations of the data when drawing on different linguistic resources (Zhou)

20 Developing Awareness Experiences of supervising international students The bonus for me is that my horizons have frequently been enlarged and I have been pleasantly stretched (Lewis)

21 Developing Awareness Supervisor being aware of the complexities but not having the chance to act upon this awareness Because of heavy workload and tight schedules most of academics in HEIs face these days, I never got around to acting upon the issues, even though I was aware of the relevance of the issues to research quality (Feng)

22 Developing Awareness Researchers who grew up in multilingual contexts (e.g., India, Pakistan, Luxembourg) not aware of the multilingual nature of their work until they embarked on large-scale research especially a PhD Researching multilingually started at a very young age in my life in an informal and unconscious way (Bashiruddin)

23 Developing Awareness Engaging with the Researching Multilingually project itself The series of seminars on Researching Multilingually work as a guide to me for presenting multilingual data in my dissertation write up (Naz)

24 Possibilities and complexities RQ.2: What possibilities and complexities are researchers aware of in relation to their multilingual research practice? Some possibilities: 1)Growing up in multilingual environments multilingual affordances 1)Gaining rich insights 1)Neutralising power imbalances

25 Possibilities and complexities Some complexities: Issues specific to research practice (from the genesis of a research idea to dissemination) Interpretation and translation Institutional policies and practices The geopolitics of language use The importance of reflexivity

26 Implications RQ.3: What implications does this have for researcher development? The overarching construct for thinking about the possibilities for and complexities of researching multilingually -> developing researcher awareness The life-long process of becoming more confident when making research(er) decisions as appropriate for particular studies and contexts -> increasingly purposeful as researchers (rather than simply following fashion or convention)

27 Implications Four steps in the process of developing researcher competence / intentionality vis-à-vis The possibilities, complexities associated with researching multilingually: 1)Realising that multilingual research practice is indeed possible and permissible 2) Exploring the multilingual possibilities 3) Making informed choices Research design (Re)presenation 4) Developing collective researching multilingually awareness

28 For more details.. Holmes, P., Fay, R., Andrews, J., Attia, M. (2013, forthcoming). Researching multilingually: New theoretical and methodological directions. International Journal of Applied Linguistics.

29 Part III Insights from your own experiences.. So, over to you!

30 Thank you شكراً Tak


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