A Meta-study of an Ethnographic Research in a Multicultural and Multilingual Community: Negotiations, Resources, and Dilemmas

Gulbahar H. Beckett 1 * , Masaki Kobayashi 2

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp. 85-106

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This yearlong ethnographic project on how a researcher’s presence shaped and was shaped by the research context responds to increasing calls for studies of collaborative research on the complex process of gaining entry to research site and maintaining research relationship. Analysis of 70 research journals, audio- and video-recording (interviews and class activities),  nine excerpts from student exams, and interviews of 16 students and research assistants in two undergraduate credit courses for Japanese exchange students indicate that conducting a successful ethnographic research study in a multicultural and multilingual setting is a potentially complex process that requires continuous negotiation and renegotiation of relationships, roles, and identities. It is a process that affords potential resources and fraught with dilemmas involving research, same-L1 students, and English-only Discourse in a multilingual community.  Findings of the study should benefit researchers communities, particularly graduate students, in their understanding of the principles and procedures of successful collaboration of researchers with teachers, students, teaching assistants, and administrators.

Keywords: Collaboration and Reflexivity, Ecological Perspective, Ethnographic Research, Meta-study, Multicultural and Multilingual Community.