Mariam Attia & Julian Edge
Our purpose in this article is to achieve a shift of focus away from a view of research methods as objectified procedures to be learnt by researchers, and towards the development of researchers who craft procedures integral to the environments in which they operate – environments of which they are also a functioning constituent. A key element in such a perspective is the conceptualisation (and practice) of the relationship between development and reflexivity. Reflexivity involves a process of on-going mutual shaping between researcher and research. Development involves an increase in awareness of such processes of interaction between organism and context. Rather than see development only as a welcome side-effect of reflexive research, we treat development of the researcher as central, with reflexivity in an instrumental relationship to this on-going process. With regard to the pragmatic implementation of these concepts, we emphasise the importance of the researcher consciously stepping back from action in order to theorise what is taking place, and also stepping up to be an active part of that contextualised action. We exemplify the processes involved using research data taken from a doctoral study into the role of technology in the teaching of Arabic. The first section of this article explores the idea of a developmental approach. The second unpacks our sense of reflexivity. The third section exemplifies our discussion through the experiences of a researcher in the field. The concluding section summarises and restates our argument regarding the potential usefulness of adopting a developmental approach to the conduct of research.
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