Making “collaboration” collaborative: An examination of perspectives that frame linguistic field research

Leonard, Wesley Y.
Haynes, Erin
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University of Hawai'i Press
Though increasingly hailed as a best practice for linguistic field research, the notion of “collaboration” is rarely truly inclusive of both the “researcher” and the “researched.” This paper examines common assumptions about collaboration, particularly as they pertain to endangered language research, and advocates a paradigm shift toward a model that is truly in line with the “Respect for Persons” principle of the Belmont Report, the federal guide for ethical human research in the United States. We examine and critique other proposed forms of collaboration in linguistics, offering instead a model that incorporates the needs and expertise of all people involved in a research study. Specifically, we argue that true collaboration necessitates a collaborative approach in the very first stage of defining research roles and goals through collaborative consultation. We illustrate this approach through two case studies in Warm Springs (Oregon) and Miami (Oklahoma) communities. First, we examine our experiences conducting collaborative research within these communities. Second, we present a microanalysis of formal collaborative methods, focusing specifically on the question of determining speakerhood for linguistic fieldwork. We present collaboration as a philosophy and approach to developing a research program and demonstrate how this approach enhances rather than detracts from academic integrity.
collaboration, linguistic research, community
Leonard, Wesley Y. & Erin Haynes. 2010. Making “collaboration” collaborative: An examination of perspectives that frame linguistic field research. Language Documentation & Conservation 4. 269-293.
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