Call for papers: Writing dialogues – dialogical writing



 Full paper deadline: September 1th 2018 

For this special issue of Qualitative Studies, we invite discussions and explorations of the dialogical nature of writing. We encourage papers that explicitly address dialogical knowledge creation through writing and ways to make dialogical aspects visible in academic texts. We want to emphasize writing as a research activity in its own right, tightly entwined with reading, exploring, stating and sharing with others – that is, dialoguing. 

In everyday life, dialogue usually means a conversation or verbal exchange between two or more persons. Dia- is a prefix meaning ‘through’ or ‘by’, and logos can mean word(s), discourse, talk, thought, reason, knowledge and theory (Linell, 2009). Therefore, dialogue has a broad range of possible meanings, all addressing the interactional, relational nature of exploring and getting to know something. Moreover, dialogue holds an aspect of semiotic mediation - that is, meaning-making activities in and through words, signs, symbols, concepts or body language (Linell, 2009). These mediations can be face-to-face or technology mediated, and they can be immediate, delayed or interwoven in time, space and modalities. While dialogue refers to these mundane social activities, it is also often used in a normative sense involving symmetry and cooperation as opposed to, for example, monologuing or arguing. 

A text is, as a material artefact, a monologic format. However, its production and reception are dialogic. Moreover, dialogue within the actual text can be explicit and implicit in various ways. Hyland (2005) argues that all metadiscourse in writing is dialogical. Questions and commentary explicitly function to build a writer-reader relationship by anticipating readers’ mood and possible reaction to the text (p. 32), while more subtle markers, such and hedges and boosters, can function indirectly to get the reader on board or soften potential reservations.

This call invites papers engaging with broad - empirical or abstract - notions of dialogue in or through writing. These could be: internal dialogue; dialogue between positions or ideas; ‘data as dialogue partner’ (Alvesson & Kärreman, 2011); engaging with interviewees’ response data in the text (Helin, 2014); co-writing as dialogue (Edwards & Fowler, 2007); analysing in dialogue with fiction (Wegener, 2014) or other modalities; explorations into the craft of writing through exchange of letters (Meier & Wegener, 2017) or emails (Wegener & Tanggaard, 2013). We also invite papers that explore and discuss ways in which dialogue can be crafted in writing, where qualitative researchers can find inspiration to do so (Narayan, 2007; 2012), as well as dialogical writing as an integrated part of the research process (Helin, 2016; Lorino et al., 2011). 

Thus, in this issue we invite contributions that explore writing as dialogue and dialogue in writing as core activities in qualitative research. We are looking for papers that address, but are not necessarily limited to, the following topics relating to the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of dialogue in academic writing: 

 Reflections on the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of dialogue and their implications for the way we write qualitative research texts. 

 Strategies for dialogue in both co-authored and single-authored texts. 

 Experiences, experiments and explorations into written dialogue or dialogical writing. 

 Dialogue as a writing methodology – implications, strengths and weaknesses of dialogue as a means of knowledge creation or knowledge dissemination. 

 Designs and methods that invite dialogical perspectives on a phenomenon or concept. 

 Accounts of empirical studies that explicitly used dialogical writing as a means of knowledge creation, analysis and representation. 

 Dialogues between researcher stances, voices, writer personas or other characters in the text. 

 Explorations of the relationship between language, dialogue and understanding in/through writing. 

 Implicit and explicit dialoguing in writing. 

 The limits of dialogue in writing - when dialogue breaks down, doesn’t do the job or simply obscures things. 


Alvesson, M., & Kärreman, D. (2011). Qualitative Research and Theory Development. Mystery as Method. Los Angeles: Sage. 

Edwards, R., & Fowler, Z. (2007). Unsettling boundaries in making a space for research. British Educational Research Journal, 33(1), 107–123. 

Helin, J. (2014). Writing Process After Reading Bakhtin From Theorized Plots to Unfinalizable “Living” Events. Journal of Management Inquiry, ahead-of-p

Helin, J. (2016). Dialogical writing: Co-inquiring between the written and the spoken word. Culture and Organization

Hyland, K. (2005). Metadiscourse: Exploring Interaction in Writing. London: Continuum. 

Linell, P. (2009). Rethinking Language, Mind, and World Dialogically. Interactional and Contextual Theories of Human Sense-Making. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc. 

Lorino, P., Tricard, B., & Clot, Y. (2011) Research Methods for Non-Representational Approaches to Organizational Complexity: The Dialogical Mediated Inquiry. Organization Studies. Volume: 32 issue: 6, page(s): 769-801 

Meier, N., & Wegener, C. (2017). Writing With Resonance. Journal of Management Inquiry, 26(2), 193–201. 

Narayan, K. (2007). Tools to shape texts: what creative nonfiction can offer ethnography. Anthropology and Humanism, 32(2), 130–144. 

Narayan, K. (2012). Alive in the Writing. Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 

Wegener, C. (2014). Writing with Phineas. How a fictional character from A. S. Byatt helped me turn my ethnographic data into a research text. Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies, 14(4), 351–360. 

Wegener, C., & Tanggaard, L. (2013). Supervisor and Student Co-Writing: An Apprenticeship Perspective. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 14(3).