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Researching interculturally, researching multilingually Researching multilingually: Methodological complexities and possibilities (AHRC-funded Network.

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Presentation on theme: "Researching interculturally, researching multilingually Researching multilingually: Methodological complexities and possibilities (AHRC-funded Network."— Presentation transcript:

1 Researching interculturally, researching multilingually Researching multilingually: Methodological complexities and possibilities (AHRC-funded Network Project) Richard Fay (The University of Manchester) Prue Holmes (Durham University) Jane Andrews (The University of the West of England) Mariam Attia (The Universities of Manchester and Durham) 11 th IALIC International Conference Durham, 30 th Nov – 2 nd Dec 2012

2 Valuing the multilingual and the intercultural in research “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 …

3 Research in an multilingual and intercultural world The Researched Phenomenon …  often intercultural in focus and multilingual in modality, e.g. a PhD focusing on the Chinese-speaking students’ academic acculturation in the UK The Research Environment  often intercultural and multilingual, e.g. a Chinese-speaking PhD researcher studying in an English-medium UK university The Researcher(s)  often able to live and study in/though several cultures and languages, i.e. intercultural and multilingual The Research Texts/Dissemination  Anglo-centric cultures of research and dissemination, i.e. value attached more/only to English-medium publication/dissemination

4 Developing Focus From initial reflections on experiences (2009) …  to an initial ‘Exploratory Seminar’ (Durham 2010)  to a BAAL Colloquium (Bristol, 2011)  to the AHRC Project and related seminars etc ( )  to a special issue of International Journal of Applied Linguistics During this development which we learned ….  to distinguish researching multilingually / multilingualism  that ‘multilingual research practice’ captures both [cf. ESRC project]  that Translation Studies has many answers but that our focus is on the ‘developing researcher competence’ (vis-à-vis of RM) of non-language- specialists …. to this end  that we can learn from researcher reflections on their emergent RM experiences and processes  that such experiences cover ALL aspects of researching, from literature-explorations, to researcher thinking, to ethics, informed consent forms, data generation and analysis, and (re)presentation

5 Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 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

6 Aim of the project To investigate and clarify the epistemological and methodological processes of researching in more than one language—whether dialogic, observational, textual, or mediated—and their implications for research design, instruments, data collection and generation, translation and interpretation, and reporting.  the understanding, reporting, and representation of people of other languages Opportunities, affordances, challenges, obstacles

7 Research Gap We need approaches that involve the multilingual co-production of data and the inclusion of everyone involved in the analysis and reporting of the language, whatever their language (Collier, Hegde, Lee, Nakayama & Yep, 2002) The multilingual nature of such complex and ambiguous processes of meaning construction largely occur in the minds of researchers, or translators/interpreters What level of engagement is required (of Researchers, participants, language mediators)? What resources are available?

8 “Researching Multilingually” website

9 Emergent research questions RQ1: What are the complexities and possibilities of translating cultures when researching multilingually? RQ2: How do researchers operationalise their research design to address these issues? RQ3: What (possible) conceptual frameworks enable researchers to make sense of these complexities?

10 RQ1: Complexities and Possibilities Researchers: Trajectories in engaging in multilingual research R/ppt relationships; power; ethical practices Instruments: Inter/View (intersubjectivity) Consent forms (multimodality), recording, observing Market research (“quick & dirty”) Language choices: Impacts & opportunities of not knowing a language Including local languages

11 Interpretation/translation: Interpreter = ppt’s advocate, cultural mediator for monolingual researcher) Working with translators—need to share purposes & approaches of R Translator = co-researcher Mediators—how do they influence interpretation of findings? What about children?

12 Representation: Who is involved? When? At what level? Preparing translated data for the supervisor/examiner – when is enough enough? Faithfulness? The correct way? Interlingual (pragmatic/contextual) glossing Policy: Which languages & where? Expertise of supervisors/examiners? Institutional policies? Editorial/publishing practices?

13 RQ2: Operationalisation Methodological concerns: Double processing of meaning of Researcher’s & participants’ insights/Double distillation of data Analytical complexities (reflexive, textual, linguistic) Good practice—ethics, consistency, explicitness (training for next generation of researchers)

14 RQ 3: Conceptualisation 1) Fashion/Convention/Intentionality Fashion—what is usually done Convention—what you should do (Convention and fashion ignore awareness) Intentionality What you think is right Researcher reflexivity & sensitivity, identity 2) Relationality Researcher, supervisor, participants, translators/interpreters/transcribers Trust, ethics, power 3) Researching Multilingually - spaces Research; researched; researcher; re/presentation Interdisciplinary insights

15 Implications For researching multilingually and developing researcher competence: Researchers, supervisors, examiners, editors, publishers, interpreters/translators/transcribers English as a global language/ELF? Ethical procedures and practices Policy (educational institutions - examiners, thesis requirements, e.g., Luxembourg, Manchester) Globalisation has brought new insights into these processes We need to avoid being “essentialist” about language and languages => A work in progress

16 Progress Made a wealth of case study material of researchers reflecting an ALL aspects of their RM processes a range of research parameters (e.g. studies using interpreters, studies with researcher as ad hoc translator, studies undertaken by research teams, assessed PhD studies, etc ) a range of possible conceptual frames, e.g. Intentionality (purposefulness’) and developing researcher competence some moves towards a Policy contribution (from applied linguists to research educators and researchers more generally) some moves towards a pedagogic frame for developing researcher competence vis-à-vis researching multilingually …  becoming aware of the possibility  exploring the possibilities and their affordances  developing RM practice  articulating the practice (transparency and intentionality)

17 Researching Multilingually - & IC Dialogue  deeper understanding of diverse perspectives and practices, e.g. of research undertaken multilingually … despite the paucity of discussion of the possibilities and despite the disincentives to explore these possibilities  freedom and ability to make (informed) choices - about researching multilingually ….  developing intercultural communicative competence / developing researcher competence …  research(er) intentionality (purposefulness) / intercultural dialogue intentionality (purposefulness) THANK YOU


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