Researching the individual in workplace research

Stephen Loftus, Joy Higgs

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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    Researching workplace practice, and how people are educated for practice, has often been seen as problematic. This paper recommends qualitative approaches that draws on hermeneutic phenomenology and narrative inquiry. We begin by examining assumptions underlying much workplace research and recent trends, such as social constructionism. There has been a gradual recognition of the importance of the social aspects of practice, and practice-based eductaion, with the rise in popularity of such ideas as communities of practice, and the recognition of the significance of work of scholars such as Vygotsky. However, the individual's interaction with the practice environment and their interpretation of their own experience has been somwewhat neglected. We argue that there is an important dialogical relationship between the individual and the practice environment, affected by personal histories, workplace cultures and eductaion. We need more research that deeply engages with the individual's perspective on practice. We argue that combining hermeneutic phenomenology and narrative inquiry can allow research to engage with the individual's subjective experience, and explore the relationships between individuals and their communities of practice. We also draw on the ideas of the Russian scholar. Mikhail Bakharin, to further develop the importance of studying the dynamic dialogical relationships that individuals establish with themselves and their practice environments. Evidence from a study that looked at the practice-based education of medical students, and the experiences of people working in an interprofessional environment, is used to substantiate the importance of researching the individual perspective on practice and practice-based education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIdentity of experience
    EditorsKate Collier
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Number of pages6
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    EventInternational Conference on Experiential Learning (ICEL) - Sydney, Australia
    Duration: 08 Dec 200812 Dec 2008


    ConferenceInternational Conference on Experiential Learning (ICEL)


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