On positionalities in research with international students


  • Vera Spangler University of Surrey




researcher positionalities, international students, reflexivity, student positionalities, qualitative research


In this paper, I argue that if we want to further strengthen the current direction towards more innovative and critical methodological research designs in research with international students, we must engage more deeply and meaningfully with our own positionalities as researchers. In order to build a more accurate portrayal of our participants – international students, we must begin to acknowledge the dynamic multiplicity and situational understandings of positionalities and move away from monolithic and ascriptive presentation statements (e.g., nationality, age, gender). A critical appreciation of positionality helps us to develop a reflexivity that enhances the methodological strength of our research approaches and, considering the lack of nuance in many conceptions of international students, generate empirical material with international students that (more) faithfully represent their experiences and worlds. This, hopefully, allows us to counter inequalities in practice and move away from positions of deficit and problematic discourses and assumptions.

Author Biography

Vera Spangler, University of Surrey

VERA SPANGLER is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey, UK. Trained as an educational anthropologist, she explores how education, learning, and knowledge are negotiated and managed in everyday life in different contexts – across national and cultural boundaries. She uses relational approaches to understand space, place, and time, taking special interest in creative, participatory methodology. Email: v.spangler@surrey.ac.uk


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How to Cite

Spangler, V. (2023). On positionalities in research with international students. Journal of International Students, 14(3). https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v14i3.6090