4.7 Research focus
It will now be clear that a multimodal approach can mean many different things. But it signals that researchers start from the premise that language-as-text alone is not the only, or necessarily the most important, thing to pay attention to.
Researcher stance is an important subject to look at here. The increasing interest in communication as a multimodal phenomenon clearly illustrates that the nature of phenomenon under study will vary according to what the researcher think s/he is looking at, or chooses to look at. If in researching, for example, classroom interaction the focus is only on verbal exchange, then the significance of non-verbal – visual, sound or physical movement – will not be discussed and may thus be indirectly construed as irrelevant. Thus the recent multimodal approach to communication not only raises questions about the nature of the object under study, but also about what we can refer to as the researcher’s stance: that is the what s/he chooses to focus on and thus make important, and the research processes by which s/he decides to focus on a particular element.