Critical Paper

  • Uploaded by: David Robinson
  • 0
  • 0
  • July 2020
  • PDF

This document was uploaded by user and they confirmed that they have the permission to share it. If you are author or own the copyright of this book, please report to us by using this DMCA report form. Report DMCA


Download & View Critical Paper as PDF for free.

More details

  • Words: 1,439
  • Pages: 6


Kavita Rai M.phil Psychology Christ University

The main aim of this critical paper is to understand the concept of ‘Reflexivity’. Reflexivity is a concept widely used in qualitative social research. In this paper an attempt is made to approach reflexivity by explaining the following1. What is reflexivity (definition and meaning?) 2. History of reflexivity 3. Types of reflexivity 4. How (ways) to pursue reflexivity 5. Critique of reflexivity 6. Conclusion

What is reflexivity? ‘Reflexivity involves reflecting on the way in which research is carried out and understanding how the process of doing research shapes its outcomes’. (Hardy et al, 2001) For simple understanding we can say that reflexivity is‘The interpretation of interpretation’. ( Alvesson & Skoldberg, 2001) Reflexivity is a continual process and therefore it is always a pursuit and never a destination. It is called as a process because in this researchers recognizes, examines and understands how his or her own society, background and assumptions can intervene in the research process. According to Nightingle and Crombay, 1999,”Reflexivity requires an awareness of the researcher’s contribution to the construction of meanings throughout the research process, and an acknowledgment of the impossibility of remaining ‘outside of one’s subject matter while conducting research. Reflexivity than urges us “to explore the ways in which a researcher’ involvement with a particular study influences, acts upon and informs such research.” How a study takes a shape depends up to some extent upon the researcher as his experience, values, interests and beliefs are likely to influence his research throughout from the time he selects his area of research to the findings of the research. Reflexivity comes into picture when researcher reviews or explores his work and can analyse as to how his involvement has influenced his study. Reflexivity is also an effort to reflect on how the researcher is located in a particular social, political, cultural and linguistic context. Therefore we can say that it is a process of reflection of the kind of knowledge produced and how it is built upon. Here emerges a question-“is it good to be reflexive in your research”? Not every one supports the idea of being reflexive but in my opinion yes, it is good to be a reflexive researchers and very important to take stock of one’s action and their role in the process of research. Supporting the importance of reflexivity, Katja Mruck and Franz Breuer (2003) have written –

“Why is it necessary to talk about ourselves and our presuppositions, choices, and actions during the research process in a sufficiently precise way so that it allows others to follow what we mean and did? It is necessary because without such reflection the outcomes of the research process are regarded as “characteristics of object, “as” existing realities,” despite their constructed nature that originates in the various choices and decisions researches undertake during the process of researching.” To answer the question – Why should we talk about ourselves? The French ethno psychoanalyst Georges DEVEREUX gave an initial and a radical answer“The behavioural scientist should not ignore the interaction between the observer, hoping, that in time this interaction would fade away…….Researches should stop exclusively underlining treatment and manipulation of the object. Instead they should simultaneously and sometimes exclusively reflect and understand their role as observer” .It implies that subjectivity exists in every research and that is why it is prudent to reflect it and know how it has given meaning to research

HISTORY OF REFLEXIVITY Reflexivity was perhaps first enunciated by the sociologist William Thomas (1923, 28) as the Thomas theorem: that “the situations that are defined as true, becomes true for them. This means that knowledge depends on the position (point of view) of the epistemic subject. To understand the epistemological starting point of reflexivity, we will have to explore how research emerged. According to positivism, full understanding can be reached by experiment and observation and it can be reduced to numbers. But as we moved towards modernism and post- positivism, we see that here the “self” comes into picture. Opposition to positivist epistemologies has come from feminism, post-structuralism, critical psychology, anthropology, ethnography and developments in qualitative research. The idea that subjective is a valid form of knowledge and all people are capable of naming their own world and constructing knowledge, represents a shift from positivism and modernism. According to Franz Breuer and Wolff-Michael Roth (2003)- “over the past two or three decades, the subject- centred nature of all human knowing and learning has become increasingly salient.” Thus how do you gain objective knowledge when you can not deny the role of subjectivity? “ Objective knowledge is the construction of an epistemological subject that regards itself as absolute because and as long as it does not know anything about itself”(RAUSCHENBACH 1996) This is nearly impossible as every researcher has or is influenced by his own set of experiences, beliefs, interest.

TYPES OF REFLEXIVITY There are two types of reflexivity a) Personal reflexivity- It involves reflecting upon the way in which our own experiences, interests , values, political commitments, wider aims in life and social identities have shaped the research. Not only this but it also involves thinking about how the research may have affected and possibly changed us, as people and researcher. b)

Epistemological reflexivity- It encourages us to reflect upon the assumptions about the world and the knowledge that we have made during the course of research. It also helps us to think about the implications and significance of such assumptions for the research and its findings- Carla Willig, (2001) In this normally we ask the question “how”.

CRITIQUE OF REFLEXIVITY Although the concept of reflexivity was acknowledged and it was considered crucial in research but it was also criticized for the following reasons-

Self- indulgence (Scale, 1999, Finlay, 2002)- It suggests that this maintains the authority of the researcher. By being reflexive a researcher tends to get too much involved in himself or herself, which is not a good practice in research.

Difficulties of reflexivity (Scale 1999)- The exposing or exploring of sub conscious influence is impossible. So how do you account for your sub conscious influences?

Paralysis (Weick, 1999)- Reflexivity is accepted but excessive reflexivity may imply that we can not make any intervention or say anything with certainty. This may lead to personal doubt, lack of creativity and a researcher can loose his confidence and respect.

HOW TO PURSUE REFLEXIVITY There are some practical ways to pursue reflexivity in research-

To avoid self- indulgence one should try linking their personal experiences to theories and grounding it in the data. This way one can objectively see the personal experiences.

By giving a chance to our audiences to criticise and analyse our research may help us overcome our paralysis

Maintaining diaries is a helpful idea as it may encourage reflection on day to day practice of research.

To expose our sob conscious one can consider an involvement in action learning groups.

Viewing the research from different epistemological position can contribute towards reflexivity.

One can also achieve this through public debate and argument.

CONCLUSION To sum up, we can say that that reflexivity is the approach through which a researcher reflects how his subjectivity has influenced his research. The aim of being reflexive in this sense has to do with improving the quality and validity of the research and in a way it also points out the limitations of the knowledge that is produced, thus leading to more rigorous and true research. It is a kind of responsibility on a researcher’s shoulder to go backward on his research and review it. Only a researcher is in the best position to point out where, how and up to what extent he has influenced his research. Reflexivity is needed to prevent prior knowledge distorting the researcher’s perception of the data. We can not deny the inter play of subjectivity in the research and through reflexivity we come to know the extent of the influence of researcher’s subjectivity in giving colour to the research. Reflexivity is closely connected with the ethical practice of research and comes into play in the field where research ethics committees are not accessible. Thus reflexivity helps us to understand our own research in a better way.

REFERENCES AND CITATION Franz Breuer & Wolff- Michael Roth (2003), subjectivity and reflexivity in social sciences: epistemic windows and methodical consequences. Katja Mruck & Franz Breuer (2003), subjectivity and reflexivity in qualitative research. Carla Willig, (2001), introducing qualitative research in psychology. Tutor Jack Whitefield (2006), research methods in education. Bonss & Hartmann (1985), journal on reflexivity.

Related Documents

Critical Paper
July 2020 63
Critical Paper
June 2020 65
April 2020 43
Critical Paper Re Do
April 2020 43

More Documents from ""

Critical Paper
July 2020 63
Norma Laboral.doc
October 2019 144
May 2020 123