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BAAL’s Recommendations on Good Practice in Applied Linguistics (2016)

  • This is a thorough, well written document with a clear target audience (Applied linguists working in the British context).
  • It can serve as a stimulating starting point for affiliates looking to work on their own best practices document to adapt to their own situation. It could offer a default variant with some words of caution about adaptation for the local context.
  • It provides a clearly structured blueprint that can be used and adapted by different affiliates. The decision to structure the approach following a ‘relationships & responsibilities’ format seems valid and easily adaptable.
  • The framing of “Good Practices” in terms of responsibilities to others is commendable.
  • The document positions applied linguists in relation to research participants; colleagues, studies, the field, sponsors, institutions and the public. This positioning dispels notions of researchers working in isolation and reminds us of the importance of relationality in our work.
  • The use of Key Questions and tables is effective for inviting members to examine their own practices and stimulates reflection. This text could be useful for graduate research courses.
  • The document mentions ‘internet research’ (p. 4) and the way it has changed the research landscape, in terms of ethical considerations, for instance. This is definitely a point worth considering in any policy and/or Good Practice document. Other policies might want to take onboard the new GDPR regulations and offer an AL take on those, regarding research ethics and collaboration. The General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas.
  • References to UK rules and regulations regarding research can be found throughout the document and can be very useful for the reader/user who operates in that context. For any affiliates considering the adaptation of this document for their own purposes, it would be important to consider how the sections might need to change. For example, in Canada, data management is increasingly important in terms of best practices. Funding agencies now require data management plans in grant applications. What are some best practices for data management in applied linguistics?
  • Ethical considerations is another area that will need to be modified if any affiliates adapt this document to their own contexts. For example, in settler colonial contexts, like Canada, research ethics for working with Indigenous communities look very different than the best practices of the BAAL document.
  • The section, Responsibilities to Applied Linguistics, is particularly good in that the need for applied linguists to position themselves in public fora when strong views on language are discussed in society is clearly stated.
  • The document can be used alongside other ethical and good practices guidelines of institutions.


See the original document: https://www.baal.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/goodpractice_full_2016.pdf

BAAL’s Recommendations on Good Practice in Applied Linguistics (2021)

  • The 2021 Good Practices is an expanded version of the 2016 document.
  • The Table of Contents has a description under each topic.
  • In the Introduction (p1), there is the insertion of the statement that the document is primarily for a UK-based reader and urges researchers based outside the UK to consult other relevant guidelines.
  • Sections are now clearly demarcated for each topic by the addition of numbered sub-headings.
  • Data protection and GDPR has been included in 2.5 (p6).
  • The sub-topic, Online data, has been included in 2.9 (p9).
  • A new topic, ‘Responsibilities to researchers’, has been added.

The following link takes you to the revised BAAL Guidelines 2021: https://www.baal.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/BAAL-Good-Practice-Guidelines-2021.pdf