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12 JUNE 2014

Interpreting the theory-practice relationship

"Theory provides ways of interpreting practical knowledge. Practical knowledge–the basis of our ability to perform successfully as participants in a social practice–is largely tacit and unconscious (Schön, 1983). Imagine trying to explain to someone everything you know that enables you to carry on a successful conversation with another person. Although you might come up with a few general rules (use eye contact, listen, be relevant), no amount of explanation could more than scratch the surface of the complex habits, skills, background information, and situational awareness that even a simple conversation requires, much of which cannot be articulated verbally. As every novice user of cookbooks or computer manuals knows, even the most explicit instructions can be useless to someone who lacks the skills and background knowledge required to follow them. No theory can tell us every– thing–or, in a sense, anything–we need to know to participate in a practical activity. Practical knowledge comes only with the accumulation of direct experience.

Is theory, therefore, useless? The largely tacit nature of practical knowledge does limit the role of theory to some extent; however, it does not warrant the extreme conclusion that theory and practice are unrelated (see Craig, 1996a, in reply to Sandelands, 1990). Theory contributes to 'discursive consciousness' (Giddens, 1984), our conscious awareness of social practices and ability to discuss them knowledgeably. Discursive consciousness enables activities such as reflection, criticism, and explicit planning, thereby shaping practical conduct. A theory of a practice provides a particular way of interpreting practical knowledge, a way of focusing attention on important details of a situation and weaving them into a web of concepts that can give the experience a new layer of meaning, reveal previously unnoticed connections, and suggest new lines of action. Classroom communication, for example, can be discussed in terms of information processing, group dynamics, or ritual, among other theories. Each theory illuminates a different aspect of the situation and suggests a different approach to practical problems."

(Robert Craig, 2006)

TAGS

2006Anthony Giddens • background knowledge • classroom communication • communication theory • computer manual • connectionsconscious awarenessconversationcookbookcritical reflectioncriticismdirect experience • discursive consciousness • Donald Schon • explicit instructions • explicit planning • focusing attention • general rules • group dynamics • important details • information processing • interpreting practical knowledge • lines of action • Lloyd Sandelands • practical activity • practical conduct • practical knowledge • practical problems • ritual • Robert Craig • social practicestacit knowledgetheorytheory and practice • theory of practice • unconscious understanding • web of concepts

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
12 FEBRUARY 2014

The process of reflecting critically on design through blogging

The following diagram provides a guide for structuring reflection on practice through blogging.

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TAGS

2014blogging • blogging practice • critical reflection • critical reflective practice • design method • design thinking through blogging • diagramdocumenting design process • dsign process • iterative design process • reflecting critically • reflective analysisreflective journalreflective writingresearch by or through designSimon Perkinsweblog

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
02 MARCH 2013

The practice-exegesis relationship in PhD research

"What characterises creative arts research practice in universities that offer doctoral degrees is the requirement not only to undertake a substantial practical project, but also a reflective exegesis that contextualises the methodologies and significant contributions of the research. The specific components of the exegesis are defined by each institution and re–negotiated by each candidate according to differing emphases. Fortunately, and by design, the function of each candidate's exegesis can be redefined in relation to the practice it seeks to elucidate. And whilst the requirement to also present a substantial written component can initially appear as a burdensome or daunting prospect for those unfamiliar with the processes of critical reflection – to those who recognise its reflexive possibilities – the exegesis in parallel with the creative work of the project can provide another arena of creative practice. In this respect, the outcomes of both a creative arts–based project and its exegesis can be presented as significant contributions to knowledge in the field. Moreover, a third creative space opens. By interchanging and integrating the practice with the exegesis, it may be possible to generate a combined and reflexive research praxis. This chapter examines aspects of the practice–exegesis relationship with reference to my experience of undertaking and completing my doctoral research at Deakin University. I am, therefore, speaking from a position of having confronted and struggled with the practice–exegesis relationship from inside the playing field."

(Stephen Goddard, 2007, p.113)

Goddard, S. (2007). Correspondence Between Practices. "Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry". E. Barrett and B. Bolt, I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd. [http://www.scribd.com/doc/113746755/Practice–as–Research].

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
12 FEBRUARY 2013

UK Arts & Humanities Research Council: A Definition of Research

"research activities should primarily be concerned with research processes, rather than outputs. This definition is built around three key features and your proposal must fully address all of these in order to be considered eligible for support:

It must define a series of research questions, issues or problems that will be addressed in the course of the research. It must also define its aims and objectives in terms of seeking to enhance knowledge and understanding relating to the questions, issues or problems to be addressed

It must specify a research context for the questions, issues or problems to be addressed. You must specify why it is important that these particular questions, issues or problems should be addressed; what other research is being or has been conducted in this area; and what particular contribution this project will make to the advancement of creativity, insights, knowledge and understanding in this area

It must specify the research methods for addressing and answering the research questions, issues or problems. You must state how, in the course of the research project, you will seek to answer the questions, address the issues or solve the problems. You should also explain the rationale for your chosen research methods and why you think they provide the most appropriate means by which to address the research questions, issues or problems.

Our primary concern is to ensure that the research we fund addresses clearly–articulated research questions, issues or problems, set in a clear context of other research in that area, and using appropriate research methods and/or approaches.

The precise nature of the research questions, issues or problems, approaches to the research and outputs of the work may vary considerably, embracing basic, strategic and applied research. The research questions, issues, problems, methods and/or approaches may range from intellectual questions that require critical, historical or theoretical investigation, to practical issues or problems that require other approaches such as testing, prototyping, experimental development and evaluation. The outputs of the research may include, for example, monographs, editions or articles; electronic data, including sound or images; performances, films or broadcasts; or exhibitions. Teaching materials may also be an appropriate outcome from a research project provided that it fulfils the definition above.

The research should be conceived as broadly as possible and so consideration should also be given to the outcomes of, and audiences for, the research. The outcomes of the research may only benefit other researchers and influence future research, but consideration must be given to potential opportunities for the transfer of knowledge into new contexts where the research could have an impact.

Creative output can be produced, or practice undertaken, as an integral part of a research process as defined above. The Council would expect, however, this practice to be accompanied by some form of documentation of the research process, as well as some form of textual analysis or explanation to support its position and as a record of your critical reflection. Equally, creativity or practice may involve no such process at all, in which case it would be ineligible for funding from the Council."

(Arts and Humanities Research Council)

TAGS

academic research • accompanying documentation • advancement of creativity • AHRCapplied researchartwork and exegesisbasic researchclinical researchcontribution to knowledge • creative output • critical investigationcritical reflection • definition of research • experimental development • historical investigation • impact and engagement • knowledge and understandingknowledge transfer • new contexts • new insights • problem for action • problems to be addressed • prototyping • record and reflect • research activities • research aims and objectives • research context • research impactresearch methodsresearch outcomeresearch processesresearch projectresearch questions • strategic research • testingtextual analysis • theoretical investigation • transfer of knowledgeUK

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
03 OCTOBER 2012

Creative practice research reported through epistolary video

"The result of my doctoral research was presented as a creative work and an exegesis. The research project was an autobiographical video production entitled, Lorne Story. This video production was in the form of a video postcard – an epistolary video reporting on the creative research practice as a creative video–specific research practice. The accompanying exegesis was also in the form of a report – a written letter reflecting upon the creative video research practice, and reflecting upon itself – as a creative written research practice. This approach suggested that both the practice and the exegesis are creative research practices – both separately and together. In my research, the relationship between the practice and the exegesis also developed as a correspondence between practices."

(Stephen Goddard, 2007, p.113)

Goddard, S. (2007). Correspondence Between Practices. "Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry". E. Barrett and B. Bolt, I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd. [http://www.scribd.com/doc/113746755/Practice–as–Research].

TAGS

2007artwork and exegesis • autobiographical video narration • autobiographical video production • correspondence between practices • creative arts research practice • creative research practice • creative video research practice • creative work • creative written research practice • critical reflectiondoctoral degreedoctoral researchepistolary narrative • epistolary video • exegesisfield diaryfragmentary storiesLorne StoryPhDpostcardpractical projectreflective exegesisStephen Goddardvideo (research method) • video notebook • video postcard • video production • video-specific research practice • written componentwritten exegesis • written letter

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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