Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1461-0213
  • E-ISSN: 1570-5595



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).

This work is licensed under a license.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Agar, M. H.
    (2010) On the ethnographic part of the mix. A multi-genre tale of the field. Organizational Research Methods, 13(2), 286–303. doi:  10.1177/1094428109340040
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1094428109340040 [Google Scholar]
  2. Arber, A.
    (1964) The mind and the eye. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Argyris, C., & Schön, D. A.
    (1974) Theory in practice. Increasing professional effectiveness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bergman, M. M., Eberle, T. S., Flick, U., Förster, T., Horber, E., Maeder, C., … Widmer, J.
    (2010) A statement on the meaning, quality assessment, and teaching of qualitative research methods. Bern: Swiss Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bernstein, J. H.
    (2015) Transdisciplinarity. A review of its origins, development, and current issues. Journal of Research Practice, 11(1).
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Brunsson, N.
    (2002) The organization of hypocrisy. Talk, decisions and actions in organizations (2nd ed.). Oslo: Abstrakt forlag / Copenhagen Business School Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Burns, A.
    (2016) Action research. InJ. D. Brown & C. Coombe (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to research in language teaching and learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Cameron, D., Frazer, E., Rampton, B., & Richardson, K.
    (1992) Researching language. Issues of power and method. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Campbell, K. S.
    (1995) Coherence, continuity and cohesion. Theoretical foundations for document design. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Choi, B. C. K., & Pak, A. W. P.
    (2006) Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity in health research, services, education, and policy. 1. Definitions, objectives, and evidence of effectiveness. Clinical Investigative Medicine, 29(6), 351–364.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Crossley, S. A., & McNamara, D. S.
    (2016) Say more and be more coherent. How text elaboration and cohesion can increase writing quality. Journal of Writing Research, 7(3), 351–370. doi:  10.17239/jowr‑2016.07.3.02
    https://doi.org/10.17239/jowr-2016.07.3.02 [Google Scholar]
  12. Davies, A.
    (2007) An introduction to applied linguistics. From practice to theory (2 ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. De Souza, L. M. M.
    (2017) Epistemic diversity, lazy reason, and ethical translation in postcolonial contexts. The case of Indigenous educational policy in Brazil. InC. Kerfoot & K. Hyltenstam (Eds.), Entangled discourses. South-north orders of visibility (pp.189–208). New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315640006‑11
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315640006-11 [Google Scholar]
  14. Denzin, N. K.
    (2010) Moments, mixed methods, and paradigm dialogs. Qualitative Inquiry, 16(419), 419–427. doi:  10.1177/1077800410364608
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800410364608 [Google Scholar]
  15. Ehrensberger-Dow, M., & Perrin, D.
    (2009) Capturing translation processes to access metalinguistic awareness. Across Languages and Cultures, 10(2), 275–288. 10.1556/Acr.10.2009.2.6
    https://doi.org/10.1556/Acr.10.2009.2.6 [Google Scholar]
  16. (2013) Applying a newswriting research approach to translation. Target, 25(1), 77–92. 10.1075/target.25.1.07ehr
    https://doi.org/10.1075/target.25.1.07ehr [Google Scholar]
  17. Fürer, M.
    (2018) Modeling, scaling and sequencing writing phases of Swiss television journalists. (PhD dissertation), University of Bern, Bern.
  18. Gibbons, M.
    (1994) The new production of knowledge: The dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies. London: SAGE.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Gnach, A., Wiesner, E., Bertschi-Kaufmann, A., & Perrin, D.
    (2007) Children’s writing processes when using computers. Insights based on combining analyses of product and process. Research in Comparative and International Education, 2(1), 13–28. 10.2304/rcie.2007.2.1.13
    https://doi.org/10.2304/rcie.2007.2.1.13 [Google Scholar]
  20. Gravengaard, G.
    (2018) Transforming knowledge. Cooperation with journalism’s stakeholders. InC. Cotter & D. Perrin (Eds.), Handbook of language and media (pp.489–504). London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Guiso, L., & Viviano, E.
    (2013) How much can financial literacy help?Review of finance, 19(4), 1347–1382. 10.1093/rof/rfu033
    https://doi.org/10.1093/rof/rfu033 [Google Scholar]
  22. Guo, Y., & Beckett, G. H.
    (2007) The hegemony of English as global language. Reclaiming local knowledge and culture in China. Convergence, 40(1–2), 117–132.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Gustavsen, B.
    (2006) Theory and practice. The mediating discourseHandbook of action research (pp.17–26). London: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Habermas, J.
    (1973) Theory and practice. Boston: Beacon Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Hammersley, M.
    (2004) Action research. A contradiction in terms?Oxford Review of Education, 30(2), 165–181. 10.1080/0305498042000215502
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0305498042000215502 [Google Scholar]
  26. Harcup, T.
    (2012) Questioning the ‘bleeding obvious’. What’s the point of researching journalism?Journalism, 13(1), 21–37. 10.1177/1464884911400843
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884911400843 [Google Scholar]
  27. Hirsch Hadorn, G., Biber-Klemm, S., Grossenbacher-Mansuy, W., Hoffmann-Riem, H., Joyce, D., Pohl, C., … Zemp, E.
    (2008) The emergence of transdisciplinarity as a form of research. InH. Hoffmann-Riem, S. Biber-Klemm, W. Grossenbacher-Mansuy, G. Hirsch Hadorn, D. Joye, C. Pohl, U. Wiesmann & E. Zemp (Eds.), Handbook of transdisciplinary research (pp.19–39). Berlin: Springer. 10.1007/978‑1‑4020‑6699‑3_2
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6699-3_2 [Google Scholar]
  28. Jantsch, E.
    (1970) Inter- and transdisciplinary university. Systems approach to education and innovation. Policy Sciences, 1(4), 403–428. 10.1007/BF00145222
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00145222 [Google Scholar]
  29. Jones, D., & Stubbe, M.
    (2004) Communication and the reflective practitioner. A shared perspective from sociolinguistics and organisational communication. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 14(2), 185–211. 10.1111/j.1473‑4192.2004.00059.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-4192.2004.00059.x [Google Scholar]
  30. Kemmis, S.
    (1988) Action research. InJ. P. Keeves (Ed.), Educational research methodology and measurement. An international handbook (pp.42–49). Oxford: Pergamon.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Klein, J. T.
    (2008) Education. InH. Hoffmann-Riem, S. Biber-Klemm, W. Grossenbacher-Mansuy, G. Hirsch Hadorn, D. Joye, C. Pohl, U. Wiesmann & E. Zemp (Eds.), Handbook of transdisciplinary research (pp.399–410). Berlin: Springer. 10.1007/978‑1‑4020‑6699‑3_26
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6699-3_26 [Google Scholar]
  32. Kramsch, C.
    (2015) Applied linguistics. A theory of the practice. Applied Linguistics, 36(4), 454–465. 10.1093/applin/amv039
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amv039 [Google Scholar]
  33. Kühl, S.
    (2008) Coaching und Supervision. Zur personenorientierten Beratung in Organisationen. Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Kumaravadivelu, B.
    (2016) The decolonial option in English teaching: Can the subaltern act?TESOL Quarterly, 50(1), 66–85. 10.1002/tesq.202
    https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.202 [Google Scholar]
  35. Leavy, P.
    (2011) Essentials of transdisciplinary research. Using problemcentered methodologies. Walnut Creek: Left Coast.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Loughran, T., & McDonald, B. D.
    (2014) Measuring readability in financial disclosures. Journal of Finance, 69(4), 1643–1671. 10.1111/jofi.12162
    https://doi.org/10.1111/jofi.12162 [Google Scholar]
  37. Makoni, S.
    (2003) Review of A Davies, An introduction to applied linguistics, From practice to theory, and A Pennycook, Critical applied linguistics, A critical introduction. Applied Linguistics, 24(1), 130–137.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Massey, G., & Ehrensberger-Dow, M.
    (2011) Technical and instrumental competence in the translator’s workplace. Using process research to identify educational and ergonomic needs. ILCEA Revue, (14). ilcea.revues.org/index1060.html. 10.4000/ilcea.1060
    https://doi.org/10.4000/ilcea.1060 [Google Scholar]
  39. Matsuhashi, A.
    (1987) Revising the text and altering the plan. InA. Matsuhashi (Ed.), Writing in real time. Modeling text production processes (pp.197–223). Norwood: Ablex.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. McNamara, T.
    (2010) Personal communication, Brisbane 2010–07–05.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Morales, M. M.
    (2017) Creating the transdisciplinary individual. Guiding principles rooted in studio pedagogy. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 6(1), 28–42.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Padmanabhan, M.
    (2018) Introduction. Transdisciplinarity for sustainability. InM. Padmanabhan (Ed.), Transdisciplinary research and sustainability. Collaboration, innovation and transformation (pp.1–32). London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Palmieri, R., Perrin, D., & Whitehouse, M.
    (2018) Introduction: The pragmatics of financial communication. Part 1: From sources to the public sphere. International Journal of Business Communication, 54(4), 127–134. 10.1177/2329488418758449
    https://doi.org/10.1177/2329488418758449 [Google Scholar]
  44. Pascale, R. T., Sternin, J., & Sternin, M.
    (2010) The power of positive deviance. How unlikely innovators solve the world’s toughest problems. Boston: Harvard Business Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Pasmore, W.
    (2006) Action reserach in the workplace. The socio-technical perspectiveHandbook of action research (pp.38–48). London: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Pennycook, A.
    (2010) Language as a local practice. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203846223
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203846223 [Google Scholar]
  47. Perrin, D.
    (2003) Progression Analysis (PA). Investigating writing strategies at the workplace. Journal of Pragmatics, 35(6), 907–921. 10.1016/S0378‑2166(02)00125‑X
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(02)00125-X [Google Scholar]
  48. (2011) Language policy, tacit knowledge, and institutional learning. The case of the Swiss national broadcast company. Current Issues in Language Planning, 4(2), 331–348. 10.1080/14664208.2011.604953
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14664208.2011.604953 [Google Scholar]
  49. (2013) The linguistics of newswriting. Amsterdam et al.: John Benjamins. 10.1075/aals.11
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aals.11 [Google Scholar]
  50. Perrin, D., & Wildi, M.
    (2012) Modeling writing phases. InM. Torrance, D. Alamargot, M. Castello, F. Ganier, O. Kruse, A. Mangen, L. Tolchinsky & L. Van Waes (Eds.), Learning to write effectively. Current trends in European research (pp.395–398). Bingley: Emerald.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Pohl, C., Kerkhoff, L., Hirsch Hadorn, G., & Bammer, G.
    (2008) Integration. InH. Hoffmann-Riem, S. Biber-Klemm, W. Grossenbacher-Mansuy, G. Hirsch Hadorn, D. Joye, C. Pohl, U. Wiesmann & E. Zemp (Eds.), Handbook of transdisciplinary research (pp.411–424). Berlin: Springer. 10.1007/978‑1‑4020‑6699‑3_27
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6699-3_27 [Google Scholar]
  52. Polanyi, M.
    (1966) The tacit dimension. Garden City NY: Doubleday.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Reason, P., & Bradbury, H.
    (2006) Introduction. Inquiry and participation in search of a world worthy of human aspiration. InP. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), Handbook of action research. Participative inquiry & practice (pp.2–14). London: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Roberts, C.
    (1997) “There’s nothing so practical as some good theories”. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 7(1), 66–78. 10.1111/j.1473‑4192.1997.tb00105.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-4192.1997.tb00105.x [Google Scholar]
  55. Rooney, P.
    (2011) The marginalization of feminist epistemology and what that reveals about epistemology ‘proper’. InH. E. Grasswick (Ed.), Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. Power in knowledge (pp.3–24). Dordrecht: Springer. 10.1007/978‑1‑4020‑6835‑5_1
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6835-5_1 [Google Scholar]
  56. Scholz, R. W., & Steiner, G.
    (2015) The real type and ideal type of transdisciplinary processes. Part II. What constraints and obstacles do we meet in practice?Sustainability Science, 10, 653–671. doi:  10.1007/s11625‑015‑0327‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-015-0327-3 [Google Scholar]
  57. Scollon, R., Scollon, S. W., & Jones, R. H.
    (2012) Intercultural Communication. A Discourse Approach (3 ed.). Cambridge: Wiley.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Severinson-Eklundh, K., & Kollberg, P.
    (1996) Computer tools for tracing the writing process. From keystroke records to S-notation. InG. Rijlaarsdam, H. Van den Bergh & M. Couzijn (Eds.), Current research in writing. Theories, models and methodology (pp.526–541). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Spreitzer, G. M., & Sonenshein, S.
    (2004) Toward the construct definition of positive deviance. American Behavioral Scientist, 47(6), 828–847. 10.1177/0002764203260212
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764203260212 [Google Scholar]
  60. Stokols, D.
    (2006) Toward a science of transdisciplinary action research. American Journal of Community Psychology, 38(1), 63–77.
    [Google Scholar]
  61. (2014) Training the next generation of transdisciplinarians. InM. O’Rourke, S. Crowley, S. D. Eigenbrode & J. D. Wulfhorst (Eds.), Enhancing communication and collaboration in interdisciplinary research. Los Angeles: Sage. 10.4135/9781483352947.n4
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781483352947.n4 [Google Scholar]
  62. Whitehouse, M.
    (2017) Financial analysts and their role in financial communication and investor relations. InA. V. Laskin (Ed.), Handbook of Financial Communication and Investor Relations (pp.117–126). New York: Wiley. 10.1002/9781119240822.ch10
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119240822.ch10 [Google Scholar]
  63. Whitehouse, M., & Perrin, D.
    (2015) Comprehensibility and comprehensiveness of financial analysts’ reports. Studies in Communication Sciences, 15(1), 111–119. 10.1016/j.scoms.2015.03.007
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scoms.2015.03.007 [Google Scholar]
  64. Widdowson, H. G.
    (2001) Coming to terms with reality: Applied linguistics in perspective. AILA Review, 14, 2–17.
    [Google Scholar]
  65. (2006) Applied linguistics and interdisciplinarity. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 16(1), 93–96. 10.1111/j.1473‑4192.2006.00108.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-4192.2006.00108.x [Google Scholar]
  66. Zampa, M., & Perrin, D.
    (2016) Arguing with oneself. The writing process as an argumentative soliloquy. Journal of Argumentation in Context, 5(1), 9–28. 10.1075/jaic.5.1.01zam
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jaic.5.1.01zam [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): education; finance; journalism; transdisciplinarity; translation
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error