English for research purposes and linguistic diversity: Research reflexivity and social justice

Magdalena De Stefani, Richard Fay, Zhuo Min Huang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, we discuss the opportunities and responsibilities that we have encountered as researchers with our own linguistic resources working in linguistically-diverse settings with participants also with diverse linguistic resources. Despite this linguistic richness, much of our research takes place in, and through, English. Our experiences can be understood through the lens of English for Research Purposes (ERP) and the tension between the value of (English as) a research lingua franca and the consequences of a dominant language (i.e. English) marginalising and potentially silencing knowledge-work in other languages. This tension can be mediated through researcher reflexivity as we illustrate with three research studies* to which we contribute in some way. We conclude with recommendations for a reflexive approach to ERP, one which encourages researchers to recognise that although their research contexts may foreground English, they can also transparently and respectfully acknowledge the linguistic diversity involved. In this way, they are contributing to a socially-just framework for ERP - and therefore for the wider field of EAP.

* The three research case studies are taken from the following areas of my work:
1) Exploring identity in performing arts education (in Uruguay)
2) Global Mental Health, Translanguaging and Transknowledging (Mindfulness)
3) Narratives of Interculturality: Ladino Speaker Identity in Bulgaria
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial justice in EAP and ELT contexts
Subtitle of host publicationGlobal Higher Education Perspectives
EditorsPaul Breen, Michele Le Roux
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
ISBN (Electronic)9781350351219, 9781350351226
ISBN (Print)9781350351202
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Oct 2023


  • researcher reflexivity
  • social justice
  • English for research purposes (ERP)
  • epistemic diversity
  • epistemic (in)justice
  • intercultural ethic
  • linguistic diversity
  • mindfulness
  • reciprocal/collaborative reflexivity
  • performing arts practitioners
  • researcher narratives


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