CLERA research talk: Ethical challenges in applied linguistics research

kubanyiova-magdelenaOn April 24, 2013, Dr Magdalena Kubanyiova, Lecturer in Educational Linguistics at the University of Birmingham, will give a talk in the LSS English Seminar Series, in cooperation with CLERA.

She will be talking about “Ethical challenges in applied linguistics research”.

When we talk about ethics in applied linguistics research, we typically refer to at least two distinct, albeit interrelated, areas: an ethical conduct in research involving human subjects and the moral ends of our research activity. The first set of concerns has traditionally been embedded in Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) or codes of ethical practice, such as Recommendations on Good Practice in Applied Linguistics Research (BAAL, 2006) or TESOL Quarterly Research Guidelines. With a few exceptions, these have until recently not received much scholarly attention beyond the routine treatment in research methods manuals. On the other hand, engagement with values and moral purposes of applied linguistics research has been pursued alongside the epistemological debates in the field (Cameron, Frazer, Harvey, Rampton, & Richardson, 1994; Firth & Wagner, 1997) and reflections on the relevance and social use of applied linguistics has become even more prominent in recent years. Scholars have examined the values and purposes of applied linguistics in general (Bygate, 2005), or in relation to specific sub-disciplines, such as language testing (McNamara & Roever, 2006), language teaching (Crookes, 2009; Johnston, 2003), forensic linguistics (Shuy, 2009) or second language acquisition (Ortega, 2005; Thomas, 2009).

In this talk, I will argue that an increasingly changing landscape of applied linguistics research involving diverse linguistic, sociocultural and socio-political, virtual as well as material, contexts, collaborative research relationships or multimodal means for collection, analysis and presentation of language data has renewed the urgency with which the field needs to engage with both moral ends and moral conduct. Using examples from research involving endangered language documentation fieldwork, multilingual interaction, and computer-mediated communication, I will argue that ethically important moments (Kubanyiova, 2008) can arise in the specific research contexts regardless of the methodological or epistemological approaches adopted by the researchers. Drawing on the work outside of applied linguistics (Guillemin & Gillam, 2004; Haverkamp, 2005; Helgeland, 2005) I will outline more situated approaches to ethical decision-making, namely ethics of care and virtue ethics and discuss implications for the development of future researchers.
For further information, please contact Dr Fiona Copland.

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