RESEARCH PROPOSAL – Draft Jan.11, 2009


TABLE OF CONTENTS: Each heading has a hyperlink to the relevant section



SUMMARY (introduction)

BACKGROUND: Literature overview


General significance

Personal significance





Population and sampling

Data collection




Name: Oscar Vallazza


Processes of nurturing and maintenance of multicultural identity in the 21st century.  A qualitative study of the experience of long-term cross-cultural sojourners.


In today’s globalized world an ever increasing number of people find themselves at the interface of cross-cultural situations, which requires appropriate personal resources and adequate learning perspectives to deal with the ensuing challenges. To underline the magnitude of the phenomenon, Willis et al. (1994) talk about “a new Diaspora”, and Kim (2008) reminds us how these individuals “represent numerous others around the world who bear witness to the remarkable human spirit and the capacity for self-renewal vis-à-vis the globalizing world” (pp.365-66).

Many researchers and scholars have argued that the process of adapting to a new culture develops along a stress-adaptation path that takes most people into a stage of personal transformation.[1] As Kim (1988) recognizes, “in reviewing literature in the field of cross-cultural adaptation, one is most likely to be left with a sense of disarray. Different terms are used by different investigators to refer to essentially the same process, and the same terms are defined by different investigators in different ways” (p.28). In the present study, I will broadly subscribe to Kim’s (1988) definition of cross-cultural adaptation, as “the process of change over time that takes place within individuals who have completed their primary socialization process in one culture and then come into continuous, prolonged first-hand contact with a new and unfamiliar culture” (p. 37-38), although nowadays we are unlikely to maintain a degree of complete unfamiliarity with many of the world’s cultures.

It has also been said that some of the people who go through processes of intercultural acculturation would be in the ideal position to facilitate intercultural understanding across cultural differences, as they would benefit from the broader perspective gained through their acquired multicultural identity (Adler, 1974).

Cross-cultural contexts are complex scenarios where identity negotiation processes unfolds. Stella Ting-Toomey (1993), a scholar of Intercultural Communication, defines effective identity negotiation as “the smooth coordination between interactants […] that requires an individual to draw on a wide range of cognitive, affective, and behavioral resources to deal with novel, identity-improvisation situations” (p.73). As emphasized by Adler (1974), the life experiences of each international sojourner provide vivid and insightful examples of the dynamics that govern the development of a multicultural identity.

This study will examine the experience of adults with a perceived multicultural identity developed over multiple long-term sojourns in cultures/countries different from the one in which they grew up.  The focus of the study is addressed in the following sections.

I believe that an attentive examination of relevant personal narrative accounts will make a valuable contribution to the understanding of such dynamics.


Literature overview

The literature overview in this section serves as an informative, starting point of my research.

Today an ever increasing number of people are moving across cultural boundaries that had previously served as defining parameters of personal and cultural identity. This is a global phenomenon that millions of people experience for various reasons, including being driven off their homelands by war and famine. This study will focus on adults that willingly left their original home culture/country to embrace a broader cultural environment, and who are engaging in a dialectical learning process that includes intercultural “conversations” between them and the many factors and conditions both of their original and their elected new cultures. Thirty years after Adler’s paper, I believe that this particular group of people has the opportunity to nurture a kind of transcultural personhood that shows shades of their composite life experience.

These individuals find themselves in a marginal position, where identity negotiation processes are constantly at work, in the attempt to maintain an overall sense of balance. They live at the interface of cross-cultural communication situations, with a need for understanding a broad spectrum of cultural meanings. To overcome the discomfort and misunderstandings embedded in such experiences, and to increase their chances to successfully adapt to and interact with their new environment, long-term transnational sojourners develop affective, behavioural, and cognitive resourcefulness that may lead to intercultural competence. Intercultural Communication Competence has been variously defined.[2] Collier (1989) suggests that intercultural communication competence “is defined as the mutual avowing confirmation of the interactants’ cultural identities where both interactants engage in behavior perceived to be appropriate and effective in advancing both cultural identities” (in Wijseman & Koester, 1993, p.25)

Consequently, transcultural long-term sojourners change and gain a broader perspective that not only may facilitate their intercultural effectiveness but also promote a new, more flexible and adaptable form of identity. Such process of identity development has been labelled by many intercultural scholars with various terms such as Multicultural Identity (Adler, 1974), Third-culture Identity (Useem, 1963; Useem et al., 1963), Dynamic In-betweenness (Yoshikawa, 1987), Marginal identity (Lum, 1982). All these terms do not necessarily define the same degree of intercultural competence, though they all include a progression of identity development and the emergence of a new transcultural dimension in the sojourner’s life. For the purpose of my research, I will use the term Multicultural Identity to refer to such process. Which sees the emergence of a new kind of personhood, someone “who is neither part nor apart from a certain cultural context” (Adler, 1974, p. 31).

There is a large body of literature in this area, stemming from as diverse fields as linguistics, anthropology, education, communication, psychology and cultural studies. It has extensively explored transcultural sojourners’ experience, levels of participation in their new cultural environment, and relevant stages of personal change, e.g. intercultural contact, reflection, adaptation stress, self-shock, disintegration, acculturation, learning, increased cultural and intercultural awareness, development of intercultural communication competence, and personal growth.

Kim (1988), like Adler, talks about a disintegration phase that derives from an initial internal and external conflict situation, and serves as the basis for the emergence of new evolutionary dynamics (p.144). The ensuing personal transformation is viewed as a form of internal growth that reflects on the sojourners’ ability to interact meaningfully and effectively with their new cultural environment (intercultural competence).

These processes of identity shifting are entwined with complex developmental issues. There are several studies on intercultural adaptation as a psychological dilemma. R.S. Zaharna (1989) explores the connections between the discrepancies experienced in new cultural settings by transcultural sojourners and their search for identity affirmation. From a similar perspective Ward, Bochner, and Furnham have examined the acculturation process in several publications. In The Psychology of Culture Shock (2001), they offer useful insights into social identification theories and how they apply to specific groups of international sojourners. The psychology slant of their work offers a good augmentation to Intercultural Communication perspectives.

I believe that there is a clear link between intercultural adaptation processes and learning. Anthropologist Calervo Oberg (1954) defined culture shock as a stage of intercultural experience. Similarly, von Glaserfeld (1989) sees perturbation as a prime event in the learning process that helps achieve a different level of understanding (p.6); Jaeger and Lauritzen (1992) call it dissonance (p. 6). Thus, learning occurs as the result of the interplay between meaning and experience and develops within a context that is both personal and social. Von Glaserfeld’s (1989) constructivist perspective provides a valuable tool for the understanding of processes of intercultural adaptation. Supporting von Glaserfeld’s ideas, Cobern (1993) also emphasizes that “construction takes place in a context – a cultural context created by, for example, social and economic class, religion, geographical location, ethnicity, and language” (p.1). In her research, Lisa Sparrow (2000) also recognizes the defining influence of context in the development of multicultural identity in non-white sojourners (p. 196). Accordingly, this study will recognize the role of human and environmental factors that contribute to the maintenance of the participants’ multicultural identity.


The aim of this study is to explore the factors that contribute to the nurturing and maintenance of multicultural identity in the experience of long-term transcultural sojourners.

General significance

Why should I carry out my research? Quoting William Fitts (1981), “there seems to be a need to go beyond the group statistics to an understanding of what is happening to the individual. One often finds that there is a great deal happening with individuals that is completely obscured or confounded by the group data” (p. 262).  An intensive review of first-person accounts of transcultural sojourners would provide revealing material for further discussion and understanding. Such need for further phenomenological, qualitative research based on detailed idiographic verbal and visual accounts is also advocated by Kim (1988, p. 159).

This study is directed to those who are interested in learning more about the experience of cross-cultural sojourners and the development of intercultural competence as a process of learning, identity negotiation and ultimately personal transformation. It may be of interests to scholars, interculturalists, cross-cultural trainers, people working internationally, educators, and to the many people who are living the life of transcultural sojourners at the start of the third millennium.

This study will offer people who are in life situations that predispose them to develop multicultural identities the opportunity to reflectively explore the dynamics and significance of their experience, thereby becoming cross-culturally more aware and hopefully more competent.

Optimistically, this study will contribute to increasing acceptance and understanding of a new way of contracting one’s own cultural identity beyond the limitations and allegiances imposed by essentialist monoculturalism. Recognizing and promoting transcultural attitudes will hopefully contribute to defusing current nationalistic/ethnic strives (Willis et al., 1996) and to supporting third-culture building processes as envisioned by Casmir (1992;1999).

Personal significance

Growing up in a bilingual area close to an international border and living for many years in several countries has prompted my interest in intercultural communication. My participation in the ALGC has strengthened my conviction that learning plays a fundamental role in the human experience, which prompts me to begin this research on the connections between intercultural learning, personal transformation, and the shaping of identity in a globalized society.

I am aware that, particularly during the collection and analysis of data, I will need to be mindful of my personal connection to the research topic, to avoid disrupting the research findings (Seidman, 1998, pp. 16, 26).


Considering that by now there has been already a great amount of research on multicultural identity (or intercultural personhood, constructive marginality, in-betweenness, etc.), I will make the assumption that multicultural identity – as variously defined in the literature – has by now established itself as a specific form of identity.

Not all transnational sojourners will develop a multicultural personhood and become intercultural bridges as suggested by Adler (1974), but I believe that all of them experience changes that would not have occurred if they had never left their homeland. I assume that each of them refines a kind of identity that includes some or all of the intercultural learning that has taken place. However they arrange their lives (work, family, commitments, relations to their original culture/country, immigration requirements, financial stability, and many other context-related issues), the intercultural dimension embedded in their experience cannot be disregarded nor denied.

To explore the abovementioned aim of this study, I have formulated the following initial research questions:

What are the traits and processes of nurturing and maintaining such an identity at the dawn of the 21st century? In other words, what do people do to nurture and maintain their perceived multicultural identity across international barriers and within the context of their own personal lives?

Berry (2008) emphasizes the need for the “maintenance of culture and identity” (p. 329) in today’s globalized world, thus this question will allow me to explore ways in which some sort of multicultural variegated identity is maintained. This could include factors such as the role of virtual networking; periodic trips to original culture; the creation of a bubble of like-minded people; the level of interaction with the local culture; definitions of multicultural identity; practical coping mechanisms and strategies, and more.


With regard to the topic:

My research won’t be about analyzing the participants’ host or original cultures from a functionalist paradigm perspective (Martin & Nakayama, 1999). It will instead try to describe and explain the experience of the participants and relevant emerging patterns of adaptation and intercultural competence building. I would argue that my research has an emic slant, as it attempts an in-depth exploration of the specific culture that informs and sustains transnational personhood.

With regard to the research design and the requirements for my thesis:
I will have about 4 months to finish a research that will not exceed 20,000 words in length.  This, along with very limited research budget, will clearly limit the scope and depth of my inquiry, but hopefully not its significance.

With regard to the respondents:

The study will be limited to independent adults with a perceived transcultural personhood developed over multiple long-term sojourns in cultures/countries different from their original ones.  The complexity of mass immigration won’t be covered in this study.

With regard to biases:

I am aware that the relevant literature has an overwhelmingly Western bent, which may even be reflected in the characteristics of the respondents. Therefore I won’t attempt to generalize the findings to cultural situations in which my investigation may not be appropriate.


This research will be both descriptive and explanatory. It will follow a phenomenological approach (Casmir, 1983) within a qualitative research strategy based on an interpretive paradigm (Martin & Nakayama, 1999, pp. 5-6). Accordingly, the focus of the research will be on people’s subjective experiences and interpretations of them.

Ontologically, I am approaching this research from a constructivist perspective which would accommodate the relevance of context as suggested by Cobern (1993).

With regard to my role as a researcher, I need to be mindful of the pitfalls of essentialism (Holliday et al., 2004) in cross-cultural communication research, and of my own influence on the outcome. A reflexive approach will be used (Aneas & Sandin, 2009; Bryman, 2008, p.682; Casmir, 1983).

I concur with Aneas and Sandin (2009) that:

For the outlook of researching cross-cultural and intercultural communication we would stress that:

  • Culture is a “system” and not the sum of a collection of fortuitous traits.
  • It is an integrated whole which cannot be understood by examining its components individually and in isolation.
  • It is a dynamic whole which is in flux, and constantly changing, and which reveals itself as being in interaction with the world in a multiplicity of complex and diverse situations and contexts (Par.57, formatting added).


Population and sampling

I will use snowball/purposive sampling (Bryman, 2008, pp. 184-85; 458-61) to select a small group of people (max 5) who meet key selection criteria and are therefore relevant to my research inquiry.

Participants won’t need to be interculturally trained, though some of them may be. Given the above limitations, the sample may be biased as it may lean towards westerners. Adler’s (1974) research on the multicultural man was equally biased, but certainly of value for a large number of people. This issue was raised in Lise Sparrow’s (2000) research.

The main selection criteria will include the following:

Participants will be:

  • I individuals that have lived in more than one culture different from their original ones for at least 2 years at a time.
  • Will have a perceived transcultural personhood/identity.
  • Independent movers who left their original country following a personal call (personal motivation).
  • Based in different countries across the globe.
  • Somewhat fluent in English and the language of their relevant host countries.

Data collection

This research will be a world-wide scale descriptive case study emerging from in-depth semi-structured asynchronous e-mail interviews. To guide me through this stage, I will consult relevant publications on this particular type of interview (James, 2007; Selwyn & Robson 1998; Bampton & Cowton, 2002; Seidman, 1998).

Questions will be defined in advance and e-mailed to the respondents, who will then reply asynchronously. Asking respondents the same sets of questions will facilitate issues of comparability and data analysis, even though it may restrict the flexibility typical of face-to-face interviews.

For the interviews, I am considering the format suggested by Seidman (1996) covering a three-phase interview process – – past, present, and reflections. This will facilitate a narrative analysis of the data. To allow respondents time to iteratively explore their own thoughts, the three sets of questions may be submitted at some interval from one another. In agreement with the scope of this research and its hermeneutic nature, I will encourage participants to explore their multicultural experiences from whatever angle they may wish to do so. This also relates to issues of credibility. Guba and Lincoln’s (1985) taxonomy on credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability will provide guidance to my research.

Advantages of e-mail interviews

Considering my geographic location and limited time, I believe this method has advantages beneficial to my research. E-mail interviews allow respondents to reflect on their experience and formulate written narratives. Respondents, particularly non-native English speakers, will have the opportunity to find the words that more accurately describe their experience. This method is also inexpensive, does not suffer from time pressure, and eliminates the issue of transcription.

Disadvantages of e-mail interviews

It won’t allow the opportunity to observe paralanguage patterns such as non-verbal communication cues and to ask synchronous follow-up questions.

Follow up interviews

This may be done at a later stage and serve as a triangulation tool. To address certain aspects as they emerge from the narrative analysis, rather than implementing additional theoretical sampling, I may attempt to clarify the narratives collected through the interviews. This will be done iteratively and concurrently with the review of relevant literature.

Language issues

Language issues will be partly sidestepped by using English as the language of the research and selecting participants who have a certain degree of fluency in English. Though this choice may introduce a level of bias, it will facilitate both the collection and the analysis of the narratives, based on the assumption that – to a large extent – the respondents would share a semantic equivalency in their vocabulary.

I will need to be nevertheless mindful of this assumption.


Considering that the emphasis of this research is on how people make sense of their experience, I will follow a narrative analytic approach. As Bryman (2008) says, “The aim of narrative interviews is to elicit interviewees’ reconstructed accounts of connections between events and between events and contexts” (p.559).

Narratives will be coded using a twofold system that includes available scholarly taxonomy and typologies suggested by the respondents, in line with the idea that “at the root of in-depth interviewing is an interest in understanding the experience of other people and the meaning they make of that experience (Seidman, 1998, p. 3). In vivo memo will be generated as needed. (Bryman, 2008, p. 547-48). Participants’ profiles may also be considered (Seidman, 1998, pp. 102-107). To facilitate a thematic analysis of the narratives, emerging themes and sub-themes will be summarized in a matrix.


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Aneas, M. A., & Sandín, M. P. (2009). Intercultural and Cross-Cultural Communication Research: Some Reflections about Culture and Qualitative Methods. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 10(1), Art. 51, Accessed on Dec.10, 2009 from

Bampton, R., & Cowton, C. J. (2002). The E-Interview. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 3(2), Art. 9, Retrieved on Jan 2, 2009 from

Berry, J.W. (2008). Globalisation and acculturation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32, 328-336.

Bryman, A. (2008). Social Research methods (3rd ed). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Casmir, F.L. (1983). Phenomenology and hermeneutics: Evolving approaches to the study of intercultural and international communication. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 7(3), 309-324.

Casmir, F. L. (1992). Third-culture-building: A paradigm shift for international and intercultural communication. In S. Deetz (Ed.), Communication Yearbook, 16, 407-436.

Casmir, F. L. (1999). Foundations for the study of intercultural communication based on a third-culture building model. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 23(1), 91-116.

Cobern, W. W. (1993). Contextual Constructivism: The Impact of Culture on the Learning and Teaching of Science. In K. G. Tobin (Ed.), The practice of constructivism in science education (51-69). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Retrieved on Oct. 15, 2008 from

Collier, M. J. (1989). Cultural and intercultural communication competence: Current approaches and directions for future research. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 13, 287-302

Fitts, W. (1981). Issues regarding self-concept change. In Lynch, M. Norem-Hebeisen, A., & Gergen, K., Self-concept: Advances in theory and research. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger Publishing

Glasersfeld, E. von (1989). Cognition, construction of knowledge, and teaching. Synthese 80(1):121–140. Retrieved Oct. 1, 2008 from

Holliday, A., Kullman, J., & Hyde, M. (2004). Intercultural communication: An advanced resource book. London: Routledge

Jaeger, M; Lauritzen, C. (1992). The Construction of Meaning from Experience. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English, 82nd, Louisville, KY, November 18-23, 1992. Retrieved on Oct. 9, 2008 from

James, N. (2007). The use of email interviewing as a qualitative method of inquiry in educational research. British Educational Research Journal, 33(6), 963-976.   

Kim Y.Y., (1988). Communication and Cross-Cultural Adaptation, an Integral Theory Philadelphia, PA: Multilingual Matters.

Kim, Y. Y. (2008). Intercultural personhood: Globalization and a way of being. International Journal of Intercultural Relations: IJIR. 32(4), 359.

Lincoln, Y.S., & Guba, E.G. (1985). Naturalistic Inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Lum, J. (1982). Marginality and multiculturalism. In L. Samovar, B. R. Porter (Eds.), Intercultural communication: A reader (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Martin, J., & Nakayama, T. K. (1999). Thinking dialectically about culture and communication. Communication Theory, 9, 1-25.

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Seelye, H. N., & Wasilewski, J. H. (1996). Between Cultures. Developing Self-Identity in a World of Diversity. Chicago, IL: NTC Publishing Group.

Seidman, I. (1998). Interviewing As Qualitative Research: A Guide for Researchers in Education And the Social Sciences. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Selwyn, N., & Robson, K. (1998). Using email as a research tool. Social Research Update, 21. Guildford. University of Surrey. Retrieved on Dec.31, 2009 from

Sparrow, L. M. (2000). Beyond multicultural man: complexities of identity. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 24(2), 173-201.

Ting-Toomey, S. (1993), Communicative Resourcefulness – An Identity Negotiation Perspective. In Wiseman, R.L., & Koester, J. (Eds.),  Intercultural Communication Competence (pp. 73-115). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications

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Useem, J., Useem, R., and Donghue, J. (1963). Men in the middle of the third culture. Human Organizations 22(3), 169-179.

Ward, C., Bochner, S., & Furnham, A. (2001). The Psychology of Culture Shock,   Philadelphia, PA: Taylor & Francis Inc.

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Wiseman, R. L., & Koester, J.(1993). Intercultural Communication Competence. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Yoshikawa, M.J., (1987). The double swing model of intercultural communication between the East and the West. In Kincaid, D.L. (Ed), Communication theory: Eastern and Western perspective. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Zaharna, R.S.(1989). Self-shock: The Double-binding Challenge of Identity. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 13, 501-526.



Asante, M.K., Gudykunst, W. B., and Newmark, E. (Eds). (1989). Handbook of International and Intercultural Communication. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Bennett, M. J. (1993). Towards Ethnorelativism: A developmental model of intercultural sensitivity. In R. M. Paige (Ed.), Education for the intercultural experience. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.

Gullestrup, H. (2002).The Complexity of Intercultural Communication in Cross-cultural Management. Göteborgs Universitet, Journal of Intercultural communication. Göteborg, Sweden, 6.  Retrieved on Jan. 5, 2009 from

Gudykunst, W. B., and Ting-Toomey. S. (1988). Culture and Interpersonal Communication. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Hall, E. T. (1976). Beyond Culture. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press.

Kim, Y.Y., and Gudykunst, W.B. (1988). Theories in Intercultural Communication, Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Kim, Y.Y. (1994). Beyond Cultural Identity Intercultural. Communication Studies IV:1 1-24. Retrieved on Dec. 2, 2008 from %20-%20p%20%201%20%20Y.%20Y.pdf

Matoba, K. (2003). Glocal Dialogue Transformation through Transcultural Communication. Paper presented at ENGIME Workshop: Communication Across Cultures in Multicultural Cities 7-8 November 2002, The Hague. Retrieved on Dec.28, 2009 from

Rodriguez, A. (2002). Culture To Culturing Re-imagining Our Understanding Of Intercultural Relations. Göteborgs Universitet, Journal of Intercultural communication. Göteborg, Sweden, 5. Retrieved on Nov 29, 2008 from

Roland, A. (1994). Identity, Self, and Individualism. In Salett, E.P. and Koslow, D.R., Race Etnicity and Self: Identity in Multicultural Perspective. Washington, DC:  NMCI Publications.

Salett, E.P. and Koslow, D.R. (1994). Race Etnicity and Self: Identity in Multicultural Perspective. Washington, DC: NMCI Publications.



Lincoln and Guba’s Evaluative Criteria

Exploring On-line Interviews

On-line Research Methods Glossary


The International Journal of Intercultural Relations

This is an academic journal published by Elsevier Science. The interdisciplinary journal aims to publish theoretical, practical and research-based articles on intergroup relations.  Abstracts and full-text articles are available through the Science Direct service for a limited number of issues to Linköping University students.

The Journal of Intercultural Communication Studies (ICS)

This is an e-journal published by The International Association for Intercultural Communication Studies (IAICS). Many articles are about identity and/or linguistic issues.

Journal of Intercultural Communication, Göteborgs Universitet

Sage Publications

RESEARCH RESOURCES AT Linköping University


E-journal databases



[1] The relevant bibliography is very extensive. I have omitted any specific citations here, and refer the reader to the literature overview section, and the references and literature at the end of this document. See Wichert (1996) for a concise review of Acculturation and Intercultural Identity literature.

[2] For a comprehensive review, see Wiseman & Koester’s (1993) Intercultural Communication Competence.

One Response

  1. Submitted 20 January 2010 01:20 by Oscar Vallazza
    Research plan Submitted

    Assessed by Fredrik Sandberg
    Assessment: Very good

    Comments for Oscar Vallazzas research proposal I wanted to do a more thorough and critical reading of your text, because I think you need to explain a lot concepts more clearly as they emerge in your proposal (and in your forthcoming thesis). The comments can hopefully be used as you progress with your thesis. I still think your proposal is very good. I have read the proposal and commented on it as a process of reading the text– if there are unexplained concepts a long the way I have commented. It is important, as a reader, to be able to grasp concepts as they emerge in the text.

    1. (p1)What do you mean by globalized world? ’Which people’ are you talking about? What is ’appropriate personal resources’? What phenomenon are you talking about? What is diaspora? Who are these ’most people’ that move into a stage of personal transformation? What are the other people doing?

    2. (p1) When you talk about people in the summary: is it immigrants? Is it individuals which move to other countries to work? Is it individuals that have escaped from war, famine etc? You should adress that it concerns sojourners (visitor? But what kind of visitor?) and thoroughly explain this concept almost immediately in the text (you explain it later on, but you should address it much earlier). But you can work on this as your thesis progresses.

    3. (p1) It has also been said by whom? Which people are “some of the people”? Which are the other people?

    4. What is a cross-cultural context? Are there many kinds? If so what are the differences?

    5. Take out the last sentence starting with “I believe” and put the section starting with “this study will examine”… first in the discussion/summary. I can see that you want your aim to come out of an argument, but it is much easier for the reader if you start by saying what it actually is you are going to do.

    6. p.3 literature review: here are a lot of sentences that lack references in the beginning. Is it your thoughts or is it something that is based on research? There seem to be something important with Adler’s paper? You still have not explained sojourners: If it is this description, you could emphasise it more: “This study will focus on adults (transcultural long-term sojourners??) that willingly left their original home culture/country to embrace a broader cultural environment, and who are engaging in a dialectical learning process that includes intercultural “conversations” between them and the many factors and conditions both of their original and their elected new cultures”.
    7. Literature review: As this work progresses, it is important that you in the end of the literature review summarise what is important to your paper and what it is you will use. For instance: in this thesis intercultural identity will be defined by using Vallazza’s (xxx) definition etc.

    8. Aim p6. I guess you will narrow this down to the specific context as you’re work progress.

    9. Your research questions are good. But as your work progresses these have to be narrowed down to the specific context of research (something I think you are aware of): What are the traits and processes of nurturing and maintaining such an identity at the dawn of the 21st century? In other words, what do people do to nurture and maintain their perceived multicultural identity across international barriers and within the context of their own personal lives? As an example: In this thesis these questions will be discussed in a specific context: How do individuals from China living in Germany, nurture and maintain their perceived multicultural identity within the context of their personal lives? Perhaps you will find different interviewees from different countries working in different countries – it is then important to address the context in each case.

    10. Remember to look more closely (outside Bryman) on the connection between phenomenology and constructivism. Also, what kind of phenomenology are you interested in? It has to be defined, since phenomenology comes in different ‘shapes and colours’.
    I enjoyed reading your proposal and I wish you good luck as your proposal now advances into a thesis.
    Hope all is well

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