Key need 1 Learning how to creatively and effectively use oneself in the treatment process is an important component of most forms of therapy training. This level of self-awareness is, however, often neglected in research, despite the centrality of the researcher to their work.

What is Reflexivity?
What is reflexivity?

Practice-based research is never conducted in a vacuum. Underlying personal and cultural expectations, values and beliefs (held by both the researcher and the research participants) are inevitable aspects of research conducted in real-life settings. In this chapter, we consider reflexivity as a way of incorporating implicit and explicit, conscious and unconscious aspects of the research process without losing sight of scientific ‘rigour’. Particular attention is paid to what Finlay and Gough (2003) refer to as the ‘five variants’ of reflexivity.

  • Emotional agility
  • Reflexive awareness
  • Dialectical engagement with an ‘other’
  • Defamiliarisation
  • Critical realism
  • Feminist research
  • Emancipatory research approach
  • Unconscious processes
  • Methodological ‘horrors’
  • Subjectivity
  • Introspection
  • Intersubjectivity
  • Mutual collaboration
  • Social critique

There are no set ways of defining reflexivity, yet it is increasingly becoming an inevitable aspect of practice-based research. Fox et al. (2007: 157–8) refer to ...

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