Reflexivity—the critical examination of how we see the world—is integral to good research practice. From this state-of-the-art, accessible tour of its history and contemporary relevance, readers will learn of its importance to social research and to society generally. The text introduces a host of influential thinkers and their key ideas on reflexivity, and incorporates examples from a range of disciplines and research settings. Drawing on the authors’ extensive experience of real research settings, this book: • Pinpoints the importance of reflexivity in social research • Demonstrates its relevance to everyday life • Firmly locates the concept in the history of ideas • Explores key questions about the bases of knowledge and understanding • Presents key thinkers, concepts and issues in easy-to-understand learning boxes The result is a book that provides students and researchers in the social sciences with the knowledge and understanding necessary not only to examine the role of reflexivity in contemporary life, but to apply it in their own research practice.

Reflexive Practice

Reflexive Practice

The lived world can never be exhaustively described or enumerated. It is always more and other than anything that can be said, written, or pictured of it. Any kind of storytelling selects from the raw material, shapes it, and creates discursive order.

(Dorothy Smith 2002: 23)


It will be apparent by now that reflexivity is not a method. It is a critical ethos and set of dispositions which enable the researcher to reflect on the basis for their claims to know the social world, via an understanding of the relations between the content of knowledge, the context in which it is produced and the consequences that arise from its practice (May with Perry 2011). Reflexive thinking does not seek closure and ...

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