Crossing boundaries in literacy research: Challenges and opportunities.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The concept of boundaries, as borders that separate two entities, can be problematic in that those who “belong” within a boundary in a given social world or entity are separated from those who do not, creating binaries. The field of literacy research has had a long history of binarism in which instructional methods, epistemological positions, and paradigms have been pitted against one another. An ontological discussion of the nature of boundaries, combined with a content analysis of journal citations, revealed that current literacy research is characterized more as multidisciplinary rather than interdisciplinary, suggesting that literacy research may be characterized by disciplinary binarism. A situational analysis of the social worlds and arenas present in an interdisciplinary research project illustrates the complexity of interdisciplinary partnerships and the manner in which boundary objects can be created to negotiate boundaries and avoid intellectual, disciplinary, epistemological, and methodological nativism.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)24-46
JournalLiteracy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • binaries, boundary crossing, boundary objects, interdisciplinary research, literacy research


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