Doing reflexivity in educational research: identifying perspectives to inform positionality

Musgrave, Jackie (2024). Doing reflexivity in educational research: identifying perspectives to inform positionality. International Journal of Research & Method in Education (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727x.2024.2358782

Abstract

This paper presents an innovative approach to examine reflexivity in educational research. Adapting Brookfield’s autobiographical lenses to identify the four perspectives from a personal life history (as the mother of a child with multiple chronic illnesses who died aged 18) and professional perspectives (as a paediatric nurse, a teacher, and a researcher) provided a clear structure to identify and articulate reflexivity. The paper draws on my doctoral thesis, a case history which explored how practitioners in early childhood education and care settings created inclusive environments for young children with chronic health conditions. The participants included parents of children with chronic health conditions, thus presenting ethical dilemmas regarding reflexivity. The paper includes vignettes from my thesis which include deeply personal accounts to illustrate how the four perspectives influenced my research. This scholarly engagement set the foundations for my subsequent academic career and for my personal development. The paper concludes with the assertion that engaging with reflexivity is not only a vital ingredient of educational research but also has implications for improving practice, as well as being a tool for personal development.

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