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Discourse patterns and fieldwork strategies in urban settings: some methodological problems for researchers in bilingual communities

Milroy, L. and Li, Wei and Moffatt, S. (1991) Discourse patterns and fieldwork strategies in urban settings: some methodological problems for researchers in bilingual communities. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 12 (4), pp. 287-300. ISSN 0143-4632.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01434632.1991.9994465

Abstract

The paper evaluates the contribution of the different methodological procedures and principles offered by William Labov and John Gumperz, with particular reference to the problem of observer effect in community‐level investigations of linguistic minorities. While Labov's work seems generally to have fallen somewhat out of favour in recent years, and was in any event not devised for bilingual communities, it still offers researchers a clear set of replicable and adaptable procedures. Gumperz's procedures are on the other hand more clearly suitable for sociolinguistic research in bilingual minority communities, but lack accountability. The problems of observer effect are reviewed with particular reference to bilingualism research, and two examples cited of how the role of the observer can be accounted for in fieldwork design, and explicitly incorporated into a subsequent analysis. The need for accountability and openness in data collecting and data analysis procedures is emphasised.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Applied Linguistics and Communication
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2012 08:58
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:23
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/4884

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