On, for, and with practitioners
A transdisciplinary approach to text production in real-life settings
This article explains how research “on” practitioners can be turned into research “for and with” practitioners
(Cameron, Frazer, Rampton, & Richardson, 1992, p. 22) by including these
practitioners in the research teams. Methodologically, it draws on two decades of multimethod research and knowledge
transformation at the interface of applied linguistics and transdisciplinary action research on professional communication (Perrin, 2013). Empirically, it is based on large corpora of data collected in
multilingual and multicultural workplaces. First, the article outlines transdisciplinary action research as a theoretical
framework that enables researchers and practitioners to collaboratively develop sustainable solutions to real-world problems in
which language use in general and text production in particular play a substantial role (Section 1). Then, Progression Analysis is explained as a multimethod approach to investigate text production practices
in natural environments such as workplaces (Section 2). Examples from four domains
(education, finance, translation, and journalism) illustrate what value transdisciplinary collaboration between academic
researchers and practitioners can add to knowledge generation in applied linguistics (Section 3). For the case of journalism in increasingly global contexts, in-depth analyses offer step-by-step
understanding of the trajectory from a real-world problem to a sustainable solution (Section 4). The article concludes by suggesting empirically-based measures for research that contribute to the
development of both theory and practice in applied linguistics (Section 5).
Keywords: transdisciplinarity, education, translation, journalism, finance
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