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Liberating educational research in multilingual contexts: Methodology, social responsibility and learning from the South

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Abstract:

Based on a meta-analysis of recent studies, this paper explores how Northern assumptions pervade the design, methodology and interpretation of educational research in low-income countries. I will demonstrate how the multilingual nature of many societies requires a more critical approach than is often practiced, so that applied research and evaluation can be both liberated and liberating.

Specifically, I criticize research in educational development as being pervaded by what Goglin (2002) calls a monolingual habitus, or unquestioned assumptions built on the fundamental myth of uniformity of languages and cultures in a nation-state or, in this case, in an education system. One example is seeing language learning as sequential (second language after first); another is the expectation that education systems should generate native-like proficiency in second or foreign languages. Northern and English language biases in theoretical perspectives have meant that existing research methodologies are imperfectly suited to application in multilingual settings or in settings where dominant languages other than English (e.g. French or Vietnamese) are used in education.

Finally, I will demonstrate how recent adaptations of design and methods yield relevant data, and how socially responsible and ethical reporting helps local decision-makers make sense of the research. I will also call attention to a growing body of work from Southern researchers (e.g. Chimbutane 2009) which merits international attention and may be considered “research that liberates.”


Chimbutane, F. (2009) The purpose and value of bilingual education: A critical, linguistic ethnographic study of two rural primary schools in Mozambique. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, School of Education, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Gogolin, Ingrid (2002) Linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe: a challenge for educational research and practice. ECER Keynote. European Educational Research Journal 1:1, 123-138.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492464_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Benson, Carol. "Liberating educational research in multilingual contexts: Methodology, social responsibility and learning from the South" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492464_index.html>

APA Citation:

Benson, C. , 2011-05-01 "Liberating educational research in multilingual contexts: Methodology, social responsibility and learning from the South" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492464_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Based on a meta-analysis of recent studies, this paper explores how Northern assumptions pervade the design, methodology and interpretation of educational research in low-income countries. I will demonstrate how the multilingual nature of many societies requires a more critical approach than is often practiced, so that applied research and evaluation can be both liberated and liberating.

Specifically, I criticize research in educational development as being pervaded by what Goglin (2002) calls a monolingual habitus, or unquestioned assumptions built on the fundamental myth of uniformity of languages and cultures in a nation-state or, in this case, in an education system. One example is seeing language learning as sequential (second language after first); another is the expectation that education systems should generate native-like proficiency in second or foreign languages. Northern and English language biases in theoretical perspectives have meant that existing research methodologies are imperfectly suited to application in multilingual settings or in settings where dominant languages other than English (e.g. French or Vietnamese) are used in education.

Finally, I will demonstrate how recent adaptations of design and methods yield relevant data, and how socially responsible and ethical reporting helps local decision-makers make sense of the research. I will also call attention to a growing body of work from Southern researchers (e.g. Chimbutane 2009) which merits international attention and may be considered “research that liberates.”


Chimbutane, F. (2009) The purpose and value of bilingual education: A critical, linguistic ethnographic study of two rural primary schools in Mozambique. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, School of Education, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Gogolin, Ingrid (2002) Linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe: a challenge for educational research and practice. ECER Keynote. European Educational Research Journal 1:1, 123-138.


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