Developing intentionality and researching multilingually: An ecological and methodological perspective

Juup Stelma, Richard Fay, Xiaowei Zhou

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This paper uses an ecological perspective to understand a researcher's developing intentionality vis-à-vis her multilingual engagement with research processes, namely, 'researching multilingually'. The paper discusses ecological thinking in Applied Linguistics, ecological themes present in the literature addressing aspects of researching multilingually, and the particular understanding of intentionality we have employed. The potential of intentionality as an heuristic for understanding researching multilingually is explored with reference to a recent research experience of one of the authors - Xiaowei Zhou. This includes analyses of Xiaowei's developing awareness of linguistic possibilities, associated research-relevant affordances, and her articulation of the intentionality of researching multilingually. We suggest that the combination of an ecological perspective and a focus on intentionality provides a unique methodological understanding of researching multilingually. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-315
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Linguistics (United Kingdom)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Ecological perspective
  • Intentionality
  • Research education
  • Research methodology
  • Researching multilingually


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