Study abroad in pictures

photographs as data in life-story research

Tae Umino, Philip Benson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter reports on two longitudinal case studies of international students studying Japanese as a second language (L2) in universities in Japan. The students took photographs of any events in which they had participated. The photographs taken in large quantities were coded for the people depicted in them and related to the events in the students’ lives (in subsequent sets of interviews) to consider which communities of practice they had been allowed access to and the consequences of these for the development of their identities as speakers of Japanese during their study abroad. The study indicates that involvement in L2-mediated communities of practice is essential in constructing identity as L2 ‘users’ and highlights the impact of the use of photographs in L2 narrative research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVisualising multilingual lives
Subtitle of host publicationmore than words
EditorsPaula Kalaja, Silvia Melo-Pfeifer
Place of PublicationBristol, UK
PublisherMultilingual Matters
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781788922616, 9781788922623
ISBN (Print)9781788922593, 9781788922609
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NamePsychology of language learning and teaching

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  • Cite this

    Umino, T., & Benson, P. (2019). Study abroad in pictures: photographs as data in life-story research. In P. Kalaja, & S. Melo-Pfeifer (Eds.), Visualising multilingual lives: more than words (pp. 173-193). (Psychology of language learning and teaching; No. 2). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.