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Xiaowei Zhou

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Xiaowei Zhou

  1. 1. “Translating” insights into practice across languages:the case of a narrative study Xiaowei Zhou Edinburgh Napier University 1
  2. 2. Outline• Some background to this presentation• “Translating” insights into practice:  data generation  data preparation (transcription)  data analysis• Conclusions 2
  3. 3. Background: the research focus I explored the academic acculturation of students from mainland China on an Economics-related Masters programme at Manchester. 3
  4. 4. Background:the multilingual element in the study Contextualisation Conceptualisation Data Generation Data Preparation Data Analysis Reporting 4
  5. 5. Background: the methodologyAcademic YearDatagenerationperiod Narrative Narrative Narrative Narrative Interview 1 Interview 2 Interview 3 Interview 4 Therefore, the type of narrative data I intended to generate and work with are: • the participants’ meaningful personal accounts of a succession of events happening in their academic lives • holistic stories delivered by the participants with minimal researcher intervention in their story-telling performance 5
  6. 6. “Translating” insights into practice: data generation Prior assumption: I could easily obtain interesting stories by asking questions such as “ 可以跟我讲讲你在曼彻斯特的留 学经历吗? [Can you tell me your experience of studying in Manchester]?” 6
  7. 7. “Translating” insights into practice: data generation (continued …)What the English-medium What I did in the Mandarin-literature seems to suggest … medium research context …• Participants will start telling stories • Using metaphors: 明星自传 [starstraight away after being given autobiography], 回忆录 [memoir]prompts such as “Can you tell me etc. - to recognise theyour experience of …” (variousnarrative research reports) ??? • Using “narrative” products aschallenges prompts: films, e.g. 《罗生门》• Inviting another person to perform [Rashômon], 《明明》 [Ming Ming]storytellingexplorativecontext is - to be in an interviewnot a simple matter (Chase, 1995; • Conducting “storytelling trainings”: and creativeCzarniawska, 2004). to explain my purposes, discuss any possibly ‘unhelpful’ assumptions held• Narrative inquiry can be so open and by the participantsflexible that narrative researchersneed to learn from their own Participant: “Aha, nowexperiences than from trainers and I see what you want 7books (Atkinson, 1998). me to do …”
  8. 8. “Translating” insights into practice: transcription Prior assumption: I would/could produce verbatim transcripts by writing down whatever I hear. 8
  9. 9. “Translating” insights into practice: transcription (continued …)What the English-medium What I did in the Mandarin-literature seems to suggest … medium research context …• The transcript needs to ‘accurately’ I developed a transcriptioncapture what has happened in the convention in relation to my-To balance straightforward tointerview. It is quite research concerns …between creatingproduce verbatim transcripts (seevarious research reports with An example from the transcript:accurate ???interview data).reproductions of (see next page)the audio-recorded• In practice, transcription is not asstraightforward as it might appearinterviews and 1995).(Wengraf, 2001; Poland,making interpretivechoices• Transcription is inevitably aninterpretive and co-constructiveactivity that involves the transcriberschoice making (Mishler, 1986 and 9others).
  10. 10. “Translating” insights into practice: transcription (continued …)BEFORE: 我觉得在 orientation 整个过程中,最最有趣的一件事情就是有一天老师讲的 teamwork 方面的东西。[I think the most most interesting thing in the wholeorientation process is that one day, the laoshi talkedabout teamwork.]AFTER: 嗯——我觉得在 orientation 整个 / 整个过程中最最 / 最最有趣的一件事情就是 / 就是有一天讲到……有一天老师讲的是 teamwork 方面的东西[um - i think the most most / most most interesting thing inthe whole / whole orientation process is / is one day hetalked about ... one day the laoshi talked about teamwork] 10
  11. 11. “Translating” insights into practice: data analysis Prior assumption: Should I translate the transcript all into English and analyse it in English as many other people do? I seem to prefer coding using both languages … 11
  12. 12. “Translating” insights into practice: data analysis (continued …)What the English-medium What I did in the Mandarin-literature seems to suggest … medium research context …- Categorical content analysis: to use• Narrative I used both Mandarin and English toinquirers can drawcategories to capture relevant themes capture the themes and recorded theon differentidentified by the researcher (Lieblich sources of the categories I used.et al, 1998).possibilities Some examples:available to them• When doing narrative inquiry, we(carefullyneed to be open and flexible and -自学 [self-taught studies], fromlearn from various alternative the datamanaged) andas they enable usapproaches as longdevelop betterto obtain rich insights (Mishler, 1986). - memorisation [N/A], from theunderstandings of literature on Chinese students’• A growing interest in reflexivity in the learning practicethe phenomenon 2008).social sciences (Riessman,studied. - CogLearn about ACC2 [N/A], from the literature on acculturation 12
  13. 13. Conclusions Prior assumptions …Insights from/about principles, guidelinesEnglish … Insights from literature written in and methods …Research practices in a Mandarin-mediumpractices context …Better-informed decision makings and research … 13
  14. 14. Conclusions (continued …)- Researching multilingually means that insights from one languageautomatically travel to practices in another language ?- Researching multilingually confuses the researcher about what todo exactly ?Among many other factors, the use of more than onelanguage in research adds to the complexities of thestudy. It is something that invites the researcher to thinkdeeply, explore possibilities creatively and carry out theresearch reflexively. √ 谢谢 / THANK YOU 14
  15. 15. List of references• Atkinson, D. (1999). TESOL and culture. TESOL Quarterly, 33(4), 625-654.• Chase, S. E. (1995). Taking narrative seriously: Consequences for method and theory in interview studies. In R. Josselson & A. Lieblich (Eds.), Interpreting experience: The Narrative study of lives (Vol. 3). London: Sage Publications.• Czarniawska, B. (2004). Narratives in social science research. London: Sage Publications.• Lieblich, A., Tuval - Mashiach, R., & Zilber, T. (1998). Narrative research: Reading, analysis and interpretation (Vol. 47). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.• Mishler, G. (1986). Research interviewing: Context and narrative. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.• Riessman, K. (2008). Narrative methods for the human sciences. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.• Wengraf, T. (2001). Qualitative research interviewing: Biographic narrative and semi-structured methods. London: Sage Publications. 15