Accumulating reflexivity in collaborative HIV educational research: a model in theory and practice
If you want to understand educational work and workers in the HIV community sector, how do you access, model and theorize educational practice and those who do it, and how do you generate critical perspectives on this? Further, how do you determine the ways in which effective educational development and changes might be effected? How do you proceed through a set of practices that generate knowledge collaboratively with those whose practice is the focus of the research? Whose knowledge is generated and whose is described in the research process? In order to explore these questions, this paper addresses the principles and approach to a set of collaborative action research projects conducted within community-based HIV organizations throughout Australia. The Community Educational Workforce and Training project has attempted to describe and critique the educational work and workforce of this sector, approaching the research as an action-based collaborative endeavour. A central premise of the research has been that complex and expert systems of knowledge about educational practice reside with practitioners. As researchers our challenge is to find ways to extricate these knowledges and to interpret, link, structure and analyse the data with a view to developing the theory and practice of educational work. Principles of discourse analysis and theory generate a perspective on the differently positioned views and roles of the research partners, and allow the research enterprise to be seen as one that is as much embedded in interpersonal and relational interaction as it is in intellectual endeavour. The methods of data collection and analysis, embedded within critical discourse analysis, ethnography, models of action and collaborative research produced a critical, iterative and rigorous research process. Reflexivity as a research principle and practice demands a continuous, critical dialogue between researchers, participants and ideas. This occurred within individual moments of research and in an accumulating sense, over time as each project was undertaken. Our understanding of educational logics, problematics and meta-structures deepened during the research process.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2004-06-01