1st Edition

Critical Sociolinguistic Research Methods Studying Language Issues That Matter

    218 Pages 50 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 50 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Critical Sociolinguistic Research Methods is a guide to conducting concrete ethnographic and discourse analytic research projects, written by top scholars for students and researchers in social science fields. Adopting a critical perspective focusing on the role of language in the construction of social difference and social inequality, the authors walk the reader through five key moments in the life of a research project: composing research questions, designing the project, doing fieldwork, performing data analysis and writing academic texts or otherwise engaging in conversation with different types of social actors about the project. These moments are illustrated by colour-coded examples from the authors’ experiences that help researchers and students follow the sequential stages of a project. Clear and highly applicable, with a detailed workbook full of practical tips and examples, this book is a great resource for graduate-level qualitative methods courses in linguistics and anthropology, as well as methods courses in the humanities and social sciences that focus on the role of language in research. It is a timely text for investigating language issues that matter and have consequences for people’s lives.


    FIRST KEY MOMENT: Formulating your research question

    SECOND KEY MOMENT. Designing your research

    THIRD KEY MOMENT: Generating your data

    FOURTH KEY MOMENT: Analyzing your data

    FIFTH KEY MOMENT. Making your story


    Further reading


    Monica Heller is Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Canada. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, she is also a Past President of the American Anthropological Association.

    Sari Pietikäinen is Professor of Discourse Studies in the Department of Language and Communication Studies, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She is also Director of the Jyväskylä Discourse Hub.

    Joan Pujolar is Associate Professor in the Arts and Humanities Department at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain. He is also Director of the Research Group on Language, Culture and Identity in the Global World and President of the Catalan Society of Sociolinguistics.

    "This is a ground-breaking volume – the first to address research methodology from a critical ethnographic and sociolinguistic perspective. It foregrounds approaches to the role of language practices and ideologies in the construction of social difference and inequality, positioning the study of language and discourse at the heart of the social sciences."

    Marilyn Martin-Jones, Emeritus Professor, University of Birmingham, UK


    "This book is a gem. The authors guide novice researchers through what it means to identify critical questions in sociolinguistics and how to investigate them qualitatively. Even experienced researchers will find the book valuable, as it invites a reflexive engagement with and appraisal of established research practices."

    Lionel Wee, National University of Singapore


    "Remarkably innovative, this is a complete guide to the sociolinguistic research process that combines method, theory, and ethnography to address the fundamental integration of discursive practice, social principles, and production of meaning in all its complexity. Enhancing explanation with personal reflections, the authors show how to think through all angles of the research process."

    Bonnie Urciuoli, Hamilton College, USA

    "Engagingly written, sophisticated and loaded with practical advice, this book gives would-be ethnographers a road map that prepares them for the emergent and non-linear nature of sociolinguistic fieldwork while also encouraging attention to the wider political context and stakeholders in language research. This is a truly innovative book that breaks the mold of the traditional ‘methods manual’. The wealth of experience and humility of the authors shines through as we are allowed to ‘listen in’ on their own stories about the challenges and value of studying language in action."

    Jacqueline Urla, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

    "Monica Heller, Sari Pietikäinen, and Joan Pujolar provides a highly accessible primer for novice and mid-career researchers who are embarking on studies in multilingual contexts. Highly refreshing are the ways the authors share humble and honest vignettes and descriptions of their research journeys in three distinct settings of Francophone Canada, Samiland Finland and Catalonia Spain. Their personal narratives support deeper understanding of the stages and complexities of conducting ethnographic research in ethical, focused approaches that are also language oriented."

    Ruth Harman, The University of Georgia, John Benjamins Publishing Company