Professional practice research: Conversations about the uncertainties

Year: 2002

Author: Macpherson, Ian, Aspland, Tania, Cuskelly, Eve, Brooker, Ross

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper builds on the symposium presented at the 2001 AARE Conference in Fremantle. It proposes an expanded definition of professional practice research; it raises a number of ideas about professional practice; and it highlights the uncertainties associated with professional practice research by posing a series of questions; and it addresses these questions with reference to a range of examples of what the presenters characterise as professional practice research.

The definition of professional practice research is situated within an approach to Action Research which is critical, collaborative and reconstructive. The definition is as follows:

Professional practice research is an interrogation and investigation of professional practice by the professional practitioners themselves.

It is research that is critically-informed, politically-activist, and action-oriented.

It aims for a deeper understanding of professional practice, an enriched capacity to engage in professional practice and a commitment to an ongoing quest for quality improvement in professional practice.

It involves recognition of the fact that effective learning and teaching (as outcomes from professional practice research) is not a final state to be achieved; rather it is a way of thinking about teaching and learning to foster continual improvement.

The paper reports conversations and incites further conversations about what are considered to be the problematics and uncertainties of professional practice research. These conversations are framed within the definition of, as well as the ideas and questions about professional practice research as outlined above.