Journal Article

Narrating Significant Experience: Reflective Accounts and the Production of (Self) Knowledge

Carolyn Taylor

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 2, pages 189-206
Published in print February 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Narrating Significant Experience: Reflective Accounts and the Production of (Self) Knowledge

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Notwithstanding the rise of evidence-based practice, other tendencies within social work scholarship are also discernible. One of these is the study of the everyday, routine accomplishment of practice, drawing on microsociological methods and techniques. In this article, I apply techniques drawn from narrative and discourse analysis to the study of reflective practice accounts, which hold an important place in social work education. In particular, it is relevant to examine the form that reflective accounts take and the rhetorical and narrative devices deployed within them to accomplish a competent professional identity. My argument is not that such accounts of practice are untruthful, rather I propose that we would do well to move beyond taking texts (and talk) for granted and treating language as merely the medium for expressing inner thoughts and feelings. Social work should take seriously the need to explore its modes of representation and to cultivate a more self-conscious approach to the way professional and client identities are produced in practice.

Keywords: Reflective practice; narrative; rhetorical devices; qualitative methods of analysis

Journal Article.  8409 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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