This paper seeks to present a theoretical framework with the aim of contributing to improved understanding of how reflection can provide a mechanism to integrate research‐based knowledge with the pre‐existing practice‐based knowledge.
The paper begins with an explanation of important concepts: research‐based and practice‐based knowledge, four levels of action and two modes of learning. Two mini cases concerning managers in the public sector in Sweden then provide an illustration of how research‐based knowledge can be utilized to challenge practice‐based knowledge. The concluding discussion addresses some of the challenges involved in achieving reflection in the workplace that utilizes research‐based knowledge.
The reflection programmes had several characteristics that facilitated their implementation: they achieved a balance between the workplace demands on the participating managers and time required for the reflection; the participants were specifically recruited, had full management support and were highly motivated to be part of the reflection groups; the facilitators played key roles in structuring the managers' discussions and linking their experiences to relevant research‐based knowledge.
Methodological limitations of the cases constrain the conclusions to be drawn from these studies. However, it should be emphasized that the case studies were intended primarily as illustrations of how workplace reflection can be used to integrate research‐based and practice‐based knowledge. Obviously, there is a risk of social desirability bias because the interviewer was also involved in developing and implementing the reflection programmes. She also participated as a supervisor in mini case 2.
The literature on reflection has largely focused on reflection in the context of education, training and preparing for work or a profession. The role of workplace reflection and learning for practitioners and managers in work has received far less attention. The emergence of the evidence‐based practice (EBP) agenda has further highlighted the importance of workplace learning and reflection, as practitioners are increasingly expected to critically appraise research studies and integrate new findings into their practice. A more EBP requires reflecting practitioners who are able to synthesize research‐based knowledge with their own practice‐based knowledge acquired through experience. However, the process of integrating research‐based and practice‐based knowledge has not been the focus of much study.
Nilsen, P., Nordström, G. and Ellström, P. (2012), "Integrating research‐based and practice‐based knowledge through workplace reflection", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 403-415. https://doi.org/10.1108/13665621211250306Download as .RIS
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