On positionalities in research with international students
Keywords:researcher positionalities, international students, reflexivity, student positionalities, qualitative research
In this paper, I argue that if we want to further strengthen the current direction towards more innovative and critical methodological research designs in research with international students, we must engage more deeply and meaningfully with our own positionalities as researchers. In order to build a more accurate portrayal of our participants – international students, we must begin to acknowledge the dynamic multiplicity and situational understandings of positionalities and move away from monolithic and ascriptive presentation statements (e.g., nationality, age, gender). A critical appreciation of positionality helps us to develop a reflexivity that enhances the methodological strength of our research approaches and, considering the lack of nuance in many conceptions of international students, acquire information from and about them that (more) faithfully represent their experiences and worlds. This, hopefully, allows us to counter inequalities in practice and move away from positions of deficit and problematic discourses and assumptions.
Bourdieu, P. (1990). The logic of practice. Cambridge: Polity DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9781503621749
De Andrade, L. L. (2000). Negotiating from the inside. Constructing racial and ethnic identity in qualitative research Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 29(3 ), 268-290. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1177/089124100129023918 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/089124100129023918
Delamont, S. (2009). The only honest thing: autoethnography, reflexivity and small crises in fieldwork. Ethnography and Education, 4(1), 51-63. https://doi.org/10.1080/17457820802703507 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17457820802703507
Deuchar, A. (2022). The problem with international students' ‘experiences’ and the promise of their practices: Reanimating research about international students in higher education. British Educational Research Journal, 48(3), 504-518. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3779 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3779
Folkes, L. (2022). Moving beyond ‘shopping list’ positionality: Using kitchen table reflexivity and in/visible tools to develop reflexive qualitative research. Qualitative Research. https://doi.org/10.1177/14687941221098922 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/14687941221098922
Forbes-Mewett, H. (2020). Vulnerability and Resilience in a Mobile World. Journal of International Students, 10(3), ix-xi. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i3.2002 DOI: https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i3.2002
Heng, T. T. (2018). Different is not deficient: contradicting stereotypes of Chinese international students in US higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 43(1), 22-36. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2016.1152466 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2016.1152466
Hsieh, J. K.-T. (2018). Positioning the researcher in the studies of international student identities. Journal of International Students 8(2), 659-676. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1250368 DOI: https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v8i2.97
Hult, F. M. (2013). Covert Bilingualism and Symbolic Competence: Analytical Reflections on Negotiating Insider/Outsider Positionality in Swedish Speech Situations. Applied Linguistics, 35(1), 63-81. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amt003 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amt003
Larsen, M. (2016). Internationalization of Higher Education: An Analysis through Spatial, Network, and Mobilities Theories. Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-53345-6 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-53345-6
Lillyman, S., & Bennett, C. (2014). Providing a positive learning experience for international students studying at UK universities: A literature review. Journal of Research in International Education, 13(1), 63-75. https://doi.org/10.1177/1475240914529859 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1475240914529859
Lomer, S., & Mittelmeier, J. (2021). Mapping the research on pedagogies with international students in the UK: a systematic literature review. Teaching in Higher Education, 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2021.1872532 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2021.1872532
Massey, D. (2005). For space. SAGE. DOI: https://doi.org/10.12968/sece.2005.1.361
Mittelmeier, J., Lomer, S., & Unkule, K. (in press). Research with International Students. Critical Conceptual and Methodological Considerations. Routledge.
Moon, C. Y., Zhang, S., Larke, P., & James, M. (2020). We Are Not All the Same. Journal of International Students, 10(1), 28-49. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i1.770 DOI: https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i1.770
Mullings, B. (1999). Insider or outsider, both or neither: some dilemmas of interviewing in a cross-cultural setting. Geoforum, 30(1999). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0016-7185(99)00025-1 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0016-7185(99)00025-1
Ploner, J. (2017). Resilience, Moorings and International Student Mobilities – Exploring Biographical Narratives of Social Science Students in the UK. Mobilities, 12(3), 425-444. https://doi.org/10.1080/17450101.2015.1087761 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17450101.2015.1087761
Reyes, V. (2018). Ethnographic toolkit: Strategic positionality and researchers’ visible and invisible tools in field research. Ethnography, 21(2), 220-240. https://doi.org/10.1177/1466138118805121 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1466138118805121
Robertson, J. E. (2002). Reflexivity Redux: A Pithy Polemic on "Positionality". Anthropological Quarterly, 75(4), 785-792. https://doi.org/10.1353/anq.2002.0066 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/anq.2002.0066
Spangler, V. (2022). Home here and there: a spatial perspective on mobile experiences of ‘home’ among international students. Social & Cultural Geography, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2022.2065698 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2022.2065698
Torres‐Olave, B., & Lee, J. J. (2020). Shifting positionalities across international locations: Embodied knowledge, time‐geography, and the polyvalence of privilege. Higher Education Quarterly, 74(2), 136-148. https://doi.org/10.1111/hequ.12216 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/hequ.12216
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Journal of International Students
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
All published articles are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Unported License.