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Research Method

Data Collection

In order to investigate FLP from a broader perspective, a range of data collection and data analysis methods were used. The following tools were employed in the study: (1) a questionnaire, (2) recordings of conversations between family members, and (3) individual interviews with parents and children. The interviews were conducted by the first author.

In the data collection, emphasis was placed on observations made in the subjects’ natural environment. This is in line with the methods required for empirical case studies. Recordings of everyday face-to-face interaction were needed in order to describe and study in detail the children’s acquisition of two languages, the subject families’ language usage, and attitudes influencing language usage. The data collection method was longitudinal, which offered insight into the language development and the influence of attitudes on the same subjects over a longer period.

Recordings were transcribed using the CHAT program, and analyzed using the CLAN program. The data will be attached to the CHILDES database (McWhinney 2014).

This research method was chosen as we considered it the best way to approach multilingualism and the language choices of the families. Studying the perspectives of both children and parents is also one of the innovations of FLP research, as detailed by Schwartz and Verschik (2013). They argue that adding children’s perspective improves the validity of the data from their parents. As Palviainen and Boyd (2013) argue, “In order to describe a family’s language policy, there is thus a need to analyze, on the one hand, language strategies as a reflex of the language ideology, social context and personal experiences of the family members, and on the other hand, how these language strategies are enacted in interaction” (p. 27). Both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed in the data analysis.

This study follows the guidelines for responsible conduct of research established by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity TENK (Tutkimuseettinen neu- vottelukunta 2012). The researched families were informed about the topic of the study, the nature of the study, and the data collection methods. In addition, the families were informed about the issues related to the purpose of data collection, its storage and further processing, as well as the fact that the identifying information about the informants would not be visible in the study or in the storage section of the electronic data. The researched families gave their permission for the data collection. The families will later be asked separately for their permission to transfer the data to the CHILDES-database/corpus; the files will be transferred to the database anonymously and they will be protected by passwords. Similarly, clear terms for further processing will be devised. All direct information concerning the informants will be removed from the completed study.

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