Two decades ago, scholars first proposed that applied linguistics issues could profit by being viewed explicitly in complexity theory (CDST) terms, and since then CDST has gained considerable currency in the field. There is rapidly increasing interest in adopting complex dynamic systems theory (CDST) in domains as diverse as educational linguistics, L2 pedagogy, English as a lingua franca, L2 learner psychology, sociolinguistics, and multilingualism among others. This novel perspective has yielded significant insights to long-standing questions.
However, apart from a handful of exceptions (e.g., Verspoor, de Bot, & Lowie, 2011; Dörnyei, 2014), this is accompanied by a scarcity of practical guidance for applied linguists on the research methods which can be applied to CDST research. Because of these challenges to conducting empirical CDST research using established research paradigms, research methodology has lagged behind the rich conceptualizations found in theoretical discussions.
To provide a springboard for further progress, this colloquium is intended to showcase ways to both expand the toolbox of methods available and use existing methods in innovative ways to conduct research in a dynamic vein.
The individual papers in this colloquium will present a range of practical templates and methods for how researchers and scholars can design and conduct research using the CDST framework. The presenters, CDST scholars from around the world, introduce methods ranging from those in widespread use in social complexity, to more familiar methods in use throughout applied linguistics that are inherently suited to studying both dynamic change in context and interconnectedness. These diverse perspectives provide methodological guidance regarding how research might be designed and conducted in more dynamic and situated ways. The colloquium is hoped to inform research methodological developments in the study of applied linguistics that will spur greater involvement in CDST research across the field.