This one year (December 2011 – December 2012) project seeks to create a research network through which to develop a better understanding of the complexities and opportunities when researching multilingually (i.e. a concern with research methodology rather than with research into multilingualism per se). This under-investigated theme has been a concern of ours for some time. Thus, the AHRC project builds upon our exploratory seminar in Durham in 2010 and a colloquium of papers on this theme presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the British Association of Applied Linguists (BAAL).
We are now inviting researchers with experience of multilingual research design and practice (in whatever disciplinary context and with whatever combination of languages) to join this network in order to share insights into how researchers working multilingually theorise and operationalise their research design. We are interested in all aspects of the multilingual research process: including the use of literatures, the design of data collection and generation instruments, the management of data sets, the data analysis and interpretation processes and outcomes, the presentation (oral and written) of the study with all the representational issues this involves. We are also interested in how research contexts (e.g., examined doctoral studies, funded research projects, community research involving local authorities and charities, etc.) might inform researchers’ decisions and practices about the potential multilingual dimensions of their work.
The sharing of such insights has been given great impetus during this AHRC project so far through three 2-day seminars (one in Durham, one in Bristol and one in Manchester). Some of the contributions involve case studies of particular practices of a study undertaken multilingually; others focus on the multilingual issues that might arise in particular research contexts; and others present possible ways of theorising/operationalising the researching multilingually theme. Seminar participants are being invited to submit an abstract on the “researching multilingually” aspects of their work for publication in a journal special issue or as a book chapter.
Prue Holmes, Richard Fay, Jane Andrews and Mariam Attia