Reflexivity/ Reflection

Developing critically reflective practice

Thompson, N., & Pascal, J. (2012). Developing critically reflective practice. Reflective practice, 13(2), 311-325.

This paper reviews current dominant understandings of reflective practice before offering developments in the theory base to make it more theoretically refined in general and more sociologically informed. The foundations for a critically reflective practice can be achieved with the following approach: Incorporate issues of forethought or planning: reflection-for-practice; Take greater account of the central role of language, meaning and narrative as key elements in the process of meaning making; Go beyond individualism or ‘atomism’ to appreciate the significance of the wider social context; Take greater account of the emotional dimension of reflection; Incorporate a greater understanding of the important role of power; Be clear about the differences between reflection and reflexivity and understand the relationship between the two; Take account of time considerations, at both individual and organisational levels; and, crucially: Develop a critical approach that addresses the depth and breadth aspects of criticality and the interrelationships between the two.

Model for Structured Reflection

Model for Structured Reflection. Adapted from a document produced by Brighton University.

Reflective practice is designed for professionals engaged in life-long learning and promotes the development of independent, qualified and self-directed practitioners. Reflection can be viewed on several levels such as; Simple problem solving, using literature and theories to illuminate the analysis of the scenario under review, and considerations of broader forces of issues such as justice and emancipation and other political factors. Three types of reflective practice are discussed, Gibbs (1998) Reflective Cycle, John’s (2000) Model for Structured Reflection and Rolfe et al (2001) Framework for Reflexive Practice. Gibbs (1998), is a straightforward cycle of reflection, encouraging description of the situation, analysis of feelings, evaluation of experience, analysis to make sense of the experience, and how you change the situation if repeated. Rolfe et al (2001) asks three question: What? (descriptive level of reflection), So what? (theory and knowledge) And Now what? (action-oriented). Action is considered the last stage of the reflective process.

Three Models of reflection

Greater Manchester AHP/HCS Life Long Learning Project Team.  3 Models of reflection. Available URL Accessed 24th January 2016.

Document defines John’s Model of Reflection. The model is based on 5 questions allowing the researcher to reflect on the process and outcome of research and also breakdown the experience of the practicing reflective researcher/practitioner. John’s model of reflection asks the researcher to: Describe the experience and the significant factors, reflect by asking what they were trying to achieve and what were the consequences, influencing factors that effected decision making, what were the other choices in the project and the consequences of not using, and finally what will change because of this experience and how did the scientist feel about the experience. John’s model asks how those experience change the researcher’s way of knowing in the following areas: Empirics- Scientific, Ethics- moral knowledge, Personal- Self-awareness, and Aesthetics- the art of what we do, and our own experiences. John’s model is based on the works of Carper (1978).

A holistic approach to fieldwork through balanced reflective practice

Erik Blair & Amy Deacon (2015) A holistic approach to fieldwork through balanced reflective practice, Reflective Practice, 16:3, 418-434, DOI:10.1080/14623943.2015.1052388

Reflective practice has been associated with social sciences for some time and involves the integration of theoretical constructs and practical action. The authors implore the question, why is reflective practice absent in the natural sciences when theory and action often co-exist and it is hypothesized the reintroduction of reflective practice will enhance the process of constructive field work and data collection.  The study designed a reflective practice model using four domains; cognitive, psychomotor, affective and conative aspects of practice. Practitioners were asked to log their reflections against the four domains to a biodiversity survey of tropical mountain streams in Trinidad. The results found clear evidence that biological fieldwork can encompass a reflective methodology and used in fieldwork as a tool for making explicit that which is already implicit. It is suggested instead of considering the environment and the researcher’s mind as two separate entities, consider how the environment is experienced by the researcher.

Reflexive Research Ethics for Environmental Health and Justice: Academics and Movement-Building

Cordner, A., Ciplet, D., Brown, P., & Morello-Frosch, R. (2012). Reflexive Research Ethics for Environmental Health and Justice: Academics and Movement-Building. Social Movement Studies, 11 (2), 161–176.

This paper is about the ethical concerns that emerge in community-engaged research drawing the author’s’ experiences in doing this kind of research in the field of health. The advantages that result from research done based on reflexive research ethics are mentioned in the article. Reflexive research ethics is a concept discussed in the paper which includes ethical guidelines and decision-making principles that depend on continual reflexivity concerning the relationships between researchers and participants. The question of ethical guidelines in times of uncertainty especially when researchers are involved in research with social movements arises and thus the need for reflexive research ethics as a method that allows the researcher to self-consciously evaluate her role in the research in relation to community participants. The impacts of the research process on social movement goals as well as the impacts of the social movement goals on the research process are discussed.

Abstract: Community-engaged research on environmental problems has reshaped researcher-participant relationships, academic-community interaction, and the role of community partners in human subjects protection and ethical oversight. We draw on our own and others’ research collaborations with environmental health and justice social movement organizations to discuss the ethical concerns that emerge in community-engaged research. In this paper we introduce the concept of reflexive research ethics: ethical guidelines and decision-making principles that depend on continual reflexivity concerning the relationships between researchers and participants. Seeing ethics in this way can help scientists conduct research that simultaneously achieves a high level of professional conduct and protects the rights, well-being, and autonomy of both researchers and the multiple publics affected by research. We highlight our research with community-based organizations in Massachusetts, California, and Alaska, and discuss the potential impacts of the community or social movement on the research process and the potential impacts of research on community or social movement goals. We conclude by discussing ways in which the ethical concerns that surface in community-engaged research have led to advances in ethical research practices. This type of work raises ethical questions whose answers are broadly relevant for social movement, environmental, and public health scholars.

Negotiating the challenges of participatory action research: Relationships, power, participation, change and credibility

Grant, J., Nelson, G., & Mitchell, T. (2008). Negotiating the challenges of participatory action research: Relationships, power, participation, change and credibility. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (eds). The SAGE Handbook of Action Research. SAGE Publications.

Abstract: In this chapter we explore some of the issues that researchers and participants face when engaging in participatory action research (PAR). We suggest negotiation processes and skills that may be helpful in co-creating meaningful research accounts that arise from the lived experiences of communities as well as the subjectivity of ourselves as researchers. We reflect on power issues, self-reflexivity and the potential to develop credible accounts that can be transformative and transgressive. We consider PAR challenges, negotiation processes, and identified skills for building relationships, acknowledging and sharing power, encouraging participation, making change, and establishing credible accounts. As we discuss each area of challenge, we present vignettes from our own research that serve as examples of the challenges and possible strategies for achieving the goals of participatory research.

Feminist Methodology and its Discontents

Naples, N. (2007). “Feminist Methodology and its Discontents.” In W. Outhwaite, & Stephen P. Turner (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Social Science Methodology. (pp. 547-565) London, England: SAGE Publications Ltd.

This book chapter focuses on how feminist theories of knowledge guide the choice of different methodologies and to implement how feminists implement particular methods. The chapter begins with a historical background of feminist methodology, she describes feminist theory as having emerged from diverse struggles against hegemonic forms of power and modes of knowledge production that render women’s lives and other marginal groups invisible .The author also outlines how researchers theorize from their experiences. In terms of ethics, reflexivity and objectivity is discussed in relation to feminist methodology. The author argues that by adopting reflexive approaches, feminist researchers work to reveal the inequalities and processes of domination that shape the research process. Power influences how problems are defined and how research is constructed. Further, the chapter discusses the postmodern and postcolonial challenges to feminist methodology. Finally, ways through which research can drive social change are detailed.
Ethics: the author mentions how the researcher’s theoretical assumptions influence their role in research, what they consider ethical research practices, how they interpret and implement informed consent and how they ensure the confidentiality of their research subjects.