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Competence or purposefulness: How researchers harness their multilingual and intercultural resources when researching multilingually Newcastle University.

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Presentation on theme: "Competence or purposefulness: How researchers harness their multilingual and intercultural resources when researching multilingually Newcastle University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Competence or purposefulness: How researchers harness their multilingual and intercultural resources when researching multilingually Newcastle University 24 February 2015 AHRC funded projects: “Researching multilingually” (AH/J005037/1) and “Researching multilingually at the borders of language, the body, law and the state” (AH/L006936/1) Prue Holmes (Durham University) Richard Fay (The University of Manchester) Jane Andrews (The University of the West of England) Mariam Attia (The Universities of Manchester and Durham)

2 Overview 1. Background to AHRC-funded “Researching Multilingually” network project 2. AHRC theme and project aims 3. Some general findings and three illustrative case studies 4. An emergent conceptual framework 5. Implications and where to next

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 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 (Temple, 2007) What level of engagement is required (of researchers, participants, language mediators, supervisors, funders)? What resources are available (training, textbooks, professional expertise)?

5 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 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; 4.Develop a conceptual framework of researching multilingually processes; and 5.Explore recommendations and guidelines for researching multilingually that can be implemented by all researchers, and research training programmes. Possibilities, complexities, challenges

7 Launching the Project

8 Emergent research questions RQ1: What are the possibilities and complexities (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?

9 Three network events Logistics of three network events: Three 2-day seminars, 35 presentations Wide invitation – to our networks (British Association of Applied Linguistics, IALIC, Cultnet, institutional networks) Speakers invited to share their research which involved what we termed “researching multilingually” Distinctions teased out between researching multilingualism and the broader range of processes and practices associated with researching multilingually Links made with other research groups – University of Birmingham’s MOSAIC team

10 RQ1: What are the possibilities and complexities of researching multilingually? Researchers: Trajectories in engaging in multilingual research Researcher/ppt relationships; power; ethical practices Instruments: Inter/View; focus groups (intersubjectivity) Consent forms (multimodality), recording, observing Questionnaires (in market research - “quick & dirty”) Language choices: Impacts & opportunities of not knowing a language Including local, regional, tribal, and colonial languages Languages as opportunities and affordances

11 Literature review: Literature in which languages? Interpretation/translation: Interpreter = ppt’s advocate, cultural mediator for monolingual researcher Working with translators—need to share purposes & approaches of research Translator = co-researcher Mediators—how do they influence interpretation of findings? What about children speaking for parents/men speaking for their wives? Transcription (coding implications?)

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? Publication? Policy: Which languages & where? Expertise of supervisors/examiners? Institutional policies? Editorial/publishing practices?

13 RQ2: How do researchers operationalise their research design to address these issues? Three case studies of practice: “Am I allowed to do that?” (Xiaowei) Researcher spaces (Leah & Richard) Flexible multilingualism (Sara)

14 Case study 1 “Am I allowed to do that?” (Xiaowei) Zhou, X. (2012). Translating insights into practice across languages. (University of the West of England seminar) Research focus:Chinese students’ acculturation experiences in a UK university Languages:Chinese, English Data source:Interviews undertaken in Chinese Researcher background:English language and literature student in China; fluent in English; undertaking PhD in UK university

15 “Could I do my interviews in Chinese?” Xiaowei asked …  even though studying in an English-medium research environment, researchers often have multilingual and (inter)cultural resources and repertoires of value and appropriateness for their research … “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 questions, 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 …

16 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 “ 文化 ” – 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 “ 文化 [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 “ 中国文化 [Chinese culture]” and “ 西方文化 [Western culture]”.

17 Case study 2 Researcher spaces (Leah & Richard) 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).’ (Durham) Research focus:Exploration of the narrativised understandings of 14 middle-aged / elderly Sephardic Jews in Bulgaria re Ladino Languages:Bulgarian, Ladino, English Data source:Narrative storytelling Researcher background:Intercultural communication researcher and language trainer in Bulgaria

18 Exploring the potential and affordances of multilingual research 1. Narrative methodology (involving e.g. restorying) 2. Collaborative: 2 researchers (no explicit researcher hierarchy) 3. Intercultural (involving researchers with differing linguistic and cultural backgrounds) 4. Reflexive (reciprocal reflexivity managed through researcher stories - of Ladino experiences and of being researchers) 5. Diverse audiences for research presentation/report

19 Four spaces for mapping the RM aspects of the study: the researched space (complex linguistic space in which Ladino functions co-territorially with e.g. Bulgarian, Turkish, etc) the research space (field and desk) the researcher (collaborative) space; and 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.

20 Case study 3 Flexible multilingualism (Sara) Ganassin, S. (2012). Community-based research in the NE of England: Flexible multilingualism and language shift in researcher-participant interaction. (Durham seminar) Research focus:Immigrant ‘ refugee women’s participation in arts and culture; engagement in local community events Languages:More than 25 languages, including English Data source:focus groups; the final report Researcher background:Multilingual (Italian, French, Chinese, Spanish, English) community researcher

21 Monolingual-multilingual tensions => flexible multilingualism Participants’ linguistic abilities challenged in expressing feelings and emotions about these complex personal and culturally sensitive experiences Flexible multilingualism important in sustaining fluidity of the conversations, creating a comfortable climate, generating data for research The marginalised often used as interpreters, gatekeepers, and/or points of access (utilitarian role); here, Ppts co-construct research (through involvement in the research design and redefinition of concepts across languages) Focus groups – who speaks for whom? In what language(s)? Captured the multiplicity of participants’ voices and perspectives without essentialising the outcomes. Took place simultaneously, in a shared public space Recordings were noisy and “crowded”, with participants and researchers talking over one another, commenting, and translating => unclear transcriptions => analysis?? Member checking??

22 Multilingualism where the context is English Under-discussed and not problematised throughout the study Yet English displaced - not preferred language of ppts, or most researchers English recognised in planning stage as challenge, barrier; but chosen as language of data collection and reporting Funding, time constraints precluded using interpreters “English” of government documents prioritised in final report => voice, representation, trustworthiness, authenticity??

23 RQ3: What (possible) conceptual frameworks enable researchers to make sense of these complexities? An overarching theme Developing researcher awareness of possibilities and complexities of researching multilingually at all stages of a research process Relationships Among researchers, participants, mediators, interpreters, translators, team members, supervisors => ethics, trust Spaces Research (phenomenon); researched (context, participants); researcher (language resources); re/presentation (reporting/dissemination) Three aspects in developing researcher awareness: - researcher realisation - consideration of project, researcher resources, context - making informed (purposeful) choices => interdisciplinary insights; intercultural communication; competence vs.purposefulness

24 Implications For researching multilingually and developing researcher purposefulness: Researchers, supervisors, examiners, editors, publishers, interpreters/translators/transcribers Geopolitics of English/ELF? Ethical procedures and practices Globalisation /internationalisation has brought new insights into these processes We need to avoid being “essentialist” about language and languages

25 Policy implications University policies – what guidelines exist for influencing practices of supervisors? experienced researchers? doctoral researchers? examiners? language choices in theses? Research council policies – are practices sympathetic to “researching multilingually”? Are evaluators alert to opportunities and possibilities for researching multilingually? Are practices more “local” to disciplines or individuals? Academic & professional association guidelines – how attuned are they to researching multilingually issues? (see Fay & Holmes presentation)

26 Pedagogic implications Issues to be explored … Research methods textbooks to give attention to researching multilingually – taking issues beyond language-related disciplines Research training courses for all students Supervisor training

27 Theoretical implications Expanding the theoretical framework (through the new project): Researcher awareness/competence => purposefulness Spaces Relationships To include links between RMly and intercultural communication

28 Moving on..

29 For more details.. Holmes, P., Fay, R., Andrews, J., Attia, M. (2013). Researching multilingually: New theoretical and methodological directions. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 23(3), 285–299. Holmes, P. Fay, R., Andrews, J., Attia, M. (2014, in press). The possibility of researching multilingually. In H. Zhu (Ed.), Research methods in intercultural communication: A practical guide. London: Wiley.

30 If you would like to submit your RM-ly profile… Dr Mariam Attia Answer the two prompts: 1. What is your experience of researching multilingually? 2. How did you become aware of your own processes of researching multilingually?

31 THANK YOU (Durham University)

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