Methodological implications of participant and researcher multilingualism: making language dynamics visible

Rolland, Louise, King, Hannah M. and Lorette, Pernelle (2023) Methodological implications of participant and researcher multilingualism: making language dynamics visible. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 44 (8). pp. 645-656. ISSN 1747-7557


Language can impact the research process in complex ways. This special issue (SI) brings together seven contributions which discuss the methodological implications of researching in a multilingual world, where researchers and/or research participants are likely to know more than one language. The papers examine the relationship between researchers’ language ideologies and actual practices with multilingual participants, teams or projects, from a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives. The SI also considers positionality, including how researchers feel – and are perceived – when working in one or more first languages (L1), a later learned language (LX), or a language outside of their linguistic repertoire (L0). It provides practical examples of the stages of researching multilingually, focusing on key decisions that researchers make over the course of their projects, which are seldom made visible in research reports. We argue that linguistic reflexivity is an essential practice, through which researchers make informed language-related choices and continually reflect on the role of language(s) throughout their research projects. These illustrative accounts, from various geographic contexts, offer lessons from experience – distilled as questions and principles – to guide researchers in applied linguistics and beyond as they embark on the multifaceted journey of researching multilingually.

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