Supporting researcher creativity in multilingual doctoral research practice

Attia, Mariam, Holmes, Prue, Fay, Richard and Andrews, Jane (2013) Supporting researcher creativity in multilingual doctoral research practice. In: ECER 2013: European Conference on Educational Researcher, 9 - 13 September 2013, Istanbul, Turkey.

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The past two decades have witnessed growing interest in researcher mobility especially in relation to internationalization of higher education (Rizvi, 2011). The widespread use of information and communication technologies has further expanded educational possibilities resulting in unprecedented development in transnational onsite and online learning (Gu & Schweisfurth, 2011; Rizvi, 2011). As globalization continues to link human beings culturally and linguistically, a need has emerged for a deeper investigation into the processes of cross-language research (Halai, 2007), especially in relation to conducting doctoral research within predominantly monolingual contexts. In their research on international doctoral researchers in the UK, Magyar and Robinson-Pant (2011) confirm that reading and writing multilingually can become problematic for researchers, several of whom recounted feelings of disempowerment caused by standardized procedures and set literacy practices within primarily English language research contexts. Supervisors may reject atypical writing approaches (Robinson-Pant, 2009) and directly or indirectly advise researchers against consulting literature in languages other than English. This, in turn, shapes emerging researchers’ understanding of what constitutes legitimate literature (Magyar & Robinson-Pant, 2011) and influences decisions about language choice for future publication.

This paper reports on the recently completed one-year project “Researching Multilingually” (December 2011 - November 2012) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in the UK. The project aimed to develop deeper insights into the possibilities and complexities of researching in more than one language by inviting researchers of different backgrounds to share individual experiences into how they theorize and operationalize their multilingual research practice.
Eleven doctoral researchers (current and recently-graduated) contributed to the project by presenting at its seminars and/or posting their stories on the project website ( That they came from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds (Chinese, Greek, English, Indian, Italian, Pakistani, and Russian) and worked within a range of specializations (e.g., intercultural communication, counselling, TESOL, and multilingualism) enriched our investigation into the opportunities and challenges of undertaking cross-language research.

This paper will focus on findings emerging from analyzing the experiences of these researchers, and therefore aims to address the following questions:

RQ.1: How is researcher awareness developed vis-à-vis the processes of researching multilingually?

RQ.2: What possibilities and complexities are researchers aware of in relation to their multilingual research practice?

RQ.3: How can doctoral researchers be supported to become more intentional creative, and resourceful in their multilingual research practice?

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education
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Depositing User: Deeptima Massey
Date Deposited: 15 May 2017 10:23
Last Modified: 15 May 2017 10:23
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