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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

Researching interculturally , researching multilingually

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Researching interculturally , researching multilingually Researching multilingually : Methodological complexities and possibilities (AHRC-funded Network Project). Richard Fay (The University of Manchester) Prue Holmes (Durham University) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Researching interculturally, researching multilinguallyResearching 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)

    11th IALIC International ConferenceDurham, 30th Nov 2nd Dec 2012

  • Valuing the multilingual and the intercultural in researchCould 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

  • Research in an multilingual and intercultural worldThe 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 universityThe Researcher(s) often able to live and study in/though several cultures and languages, i.e. intercultural and multilingualThe Research Texts/Dissemination Anglo-centric cultures of research and dissemination, i.e. value attached more/only to English-medium publication/dissemination

  • Developing FocusFrom 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 (2011-12) 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--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

  • 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.


  • Aim of the projectTo investigate and clarify the epistemological and methodological processes of researching in more than one languagewhether dialogic, observational, textual, or mediatedand 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

  • 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?

  • Researching Multilingually websitehttp://researchingmultilingually.com/

  • 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?

  • RQ1: Complexities and PossibilitiesResearchers: 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

  • Interpretation/translation: Interpreter = ppts advocate, cultural mediator for monolingual researcher) Working with translatorsneed to share purposes & approaches of R Translator = co-researcher Mediatorshow do they influence interpretation of findings? What about children?

  • 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?

  • RQ2: Operationalisation Methodological concerns: Double processing of meaning of Researchers & participants insights/Double distillation of data Analytical complexities (reflexive, textual, linguistic) Good practiceethics, consistency, explicitness (training for next generation of researchers)

  • RQ 3: Conceptualisation1) Fashion/Convention/Intentionality Fashionwhat is usually done Conventionwhat you should do (Convention and fashion ignore awareness) Intentionality What you think is right Researcher reflexivity & sensitivity, identity2) Relationality Researcher, supervisor, participants, translators/interpreters/transcribers Trust, ethics, power 3) Researching Multilingually - spaces Research; researched; researcher; re/presentation Interdisciplinary insights

  • 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

  • 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--vis researching multilingually becoming aware of the possibility exploring the possibilities and their affordances developing RM practice articulating the practice (transparency and intentionality)

  • 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)


    [RF]*[RF]*[RF]*[RF]*[PH]NB the positivist discourse of AHRC. We reconstruct this discourse by infusing the spirit of intercultural dialogue into it.

    We see RM-ly as socially constructed among people (Rers and the researched) from various horizons and ICD is fundamental to this. *[PH some of this coverage may already be covered in slide 5 above?] 2010 Seminar at Durham University From researching bilingually to doing Research Multilingually 2011 Colloquium at British Association of Applied Linguistics, UWE annual conference Doing research multilingually diverse approaches and representational choices Playing with the ing form doing/undertaking, being, being involved in Dec 2011 AHRC project startedBut the focus is on multilingually, not multiculturally!And on developing researcher competence (DRM) *[PH]Cf. Studies by Hsien Chen (2010) on power negotiationAcknowledging differing perspectives histories, context among interviewers, interpreters, and translators (Temple, 2007)This domain is absent in research meth textbooks, and in ESRCs doc PG Training and Development Guidelines. Need for research capacity in Language based area studies, but none of the topics in this framework addressses issues in translating cultures and researching multilingually.*[RF]*[RF]*[PH]Language what happens when you dont know the language?It forces you to think about what meaning is being constructed and how, and for what purposes. It also changes the power dynamics between the R and the researched. What are the political implications of this, and implications for the nature the data, and how it is constructed. *[PH]*[PH]*[PH]*[PH]So how to frame RM1) Intentionality - consider the purposefulness of Rs in their decision making and actions. These considerations are linked to communicative purpose of the researchConsiderations include: data generation (language choices, interviews/FGs, structured/unstructured protocols); data analysis; representation (of people, especially through reporting); literature (use of pubs in another lang); consent forms; policies (rules about lang use, refs what langs are allowed)2) R at centrewhat they bring/dont bring; and how all this may inform the character of the study and its subsequent reportinglevels of involvement??Relational elements (of trust, ethics, power)3) Interdisciplinary insightsFrom translation and interpreting studies (understanding the translation elementfrom linguistics (interlingual glossing)From cultural anthropology (RM a given, but needs to be problematised)Etc. *[PH] Institutional implications e.g., luxembourg is open to presenting theses in three languages; in UK universities (like Manchester, Durham) everything must be in English, and language is unproblematised. So can institutions become more institutional. We are also preparing a set of policy implications for one of our BAAL papers.