Conversations as a Critical Methodological Tool

Year: 1998

Author: Owens, Janice, Francis, Dawn, Usher, Kim, Tollefson, Joanne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper explores the notion of conversation as method. It draws on a collaborative, interdisciplinary team's experiences in a project focused on developing critical reflective thinking in the disciplines of nursing and education. The project was specifically a vehicle to develop innovative teaching resources for a nursing subject, provide education for clinical teachers and encourage student reflective writing. The university lecturers who taught in the tutorial groups for the subject also kept reflective journals of the content and processes for each tutorial meeting. At the end of the first phase of the project, these journals were subject to content analysis and themes derived. Now, one year later, the themes and questions from these first journals have been re-visited in a conversation between the lecturers, the project manager and the education team member. This conversation has allowed us to re-think the questions raised, create new meaning and pose new questions. In particular, it has allowed in-depth exploration of journalling, defining reflection, images of university learning, reflection and assessment, developing a discourse of reflective teaching and how we positioned ourselves both intellectually and pragmatically. The presentation will take the form of a conversation between three of the project team members to illustrate the use of conversation as a critical methodological tool.