Critical reflexivity: A politically and ethically engaged research method for nursing

Dawn Freshwater, Gary Rolfe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter


Traditional interpretations of research tend to bifurcate research knowledge and practice knowledge, with knowledge derived from practice and direct interaction with patients being perceived as knowledge that is not formally admissible by the traditional scientific model. This paper proposes a research method that legitimises practice as a source of knowledge. Building upon the concepts of situational understanding and contingent knowledge, we advocate an integral research methodology, one which draws on the notion of the researcher-practitioner. Beginning with an analysis of knowledge and power we explore the contribution of reflexivity to the development of a politically and ethically engaged research process in nursing. In discussing critical reflexivity as a research method, we will outline the focus of reflexive research and the role of the reflexive researcher. Arguing against the superiority of theoretical research over practitioner research, we present a challenge to technical rationality, suggesting not only a new approach to research but also a new approach to practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNT Research
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameNT Research

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