Establishing methodologies for researching multilingually

Prue M. Holmes, Richard Fay, Jane Andrews, Mariam Attia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Many sites of (social science and other) research demonstrate considerable linguistic and intercultural complexity, a condition of the late modern world. Managing this complexity requires skilful linguistic flexibility among researchers and researched and appropriate multilingual research practice. Whilst there are many opportunities for such multilingual research practice, there are also many constraints; the research training provided for scholars researching where more than one language is present tends to overlook or discount the possibilities for and complexities of researching multilingually. This paper reports on the findings from an AHRC-funded project that sought to explore how researchers develop awareness of researching multilingually, and the methodological complexities and opportunities this awareness creates. Data drawn from 35 seminar presentations and 25 researcher profiles indicated researcher need to negotiate complex practices and processes: institutional practices, multilingual interviews, language choices, cross-linguistic data-analysis concerns, interpretation and translation, language politics, and researcher flexibility. However, researchers also identified opportunities: a “natural” process that afforded rich insights, and the potential to neutralise power imbalances. Our analysis of data enables us to propose an emergent theoretical framework for researching multilingually, which includes researcher intentionality, relationality, and research spaces. The project outcomes offer support for researchers for whom researching multilingually is a possibility and often a necessity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationhost publication
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2013
EventResponding to contemporary multilingual realities, recasting research methodologies conference - MOSAIC, Niversity of Birmingham
Duration: 25 Mar 201326 Mar 2013


ConferenceResponding to contemporary multilingual realities, recasting research methodologies conference
CityMOSAIC, Niversity of Birmingham


  • researching multilingually
  • developing researcher competence
  • intentionality


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