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Toward a transdisciplinary integration of research purposes and methods for complex dynamic systems theory: beyond the quantitative–qualitative divide

  • Phil Hiver ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Ali H. Al-Hoorie ORCID logo and Diane Larsen-Freeman ORCID logo

Abstract

Complexity theory/dynamic systems theory has challenged conventional approaches to applied linguistics research by encouraging researchers to adopt a pragmatic transdisciplinary approach that is less paradigmatic and more problem-oriented in nature. Its proponents have argued that the starting point in research design should not be the quantitative–qualitative distinction, or even mixed methods, but the distinction between individual versus group-based designs (i.e., idiographic versus nomothetic). Taking insights from transdisciplinary complexity research in other human and social sciences, we propose an integrative transdisciplinary framework that unites these different perspectives (quantitative–qualitative, individual–group based) from the starting point of exploratory–falsificatory aims. We discuss the implications of this transdisciplinary approach to applied linguistics research and illustrate how such an integrated approach might be implemented in the field.


Corresponding author: Phil Hiver, School of Teacher Education, Florida State University, 1114 W Call St., Tallahassee, FL, 32306, USA, E-mail:

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Elizabeth Hepford, George E.K. Whitehead, and Albert Bastardas-Boada for their detailed comments on earlier drafts of this paper.

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Received: 2021-02-03
Accepted: 2021-02-03
Published Online: 2021-02-15
Published in Print: 2022-03-28

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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