Articulating practice through Provenance

Hill, Geof and Lloyd, Caathryn (2018) Articulating practice through Provenance. Action Research. ISSN 1476-7503

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Abstract

Professional practice literature acknowledges the value for practitioners inquiring into and critically reflecting on their professional practice (Brookfield, 1998; Kemmis, 2010). This approach to professional practice inquiry, initiated and undertaken by the professionals themselves, has been labelled ‘practitioner research’ (Stenhouse, 1981) in educational literature and ‘first-person action research’ (Reason & Bradbury, 2001) in research literature. The approach can also be seen as a response to Nicolini’s (2009) call for broader than ethnographic methodologies within the ‘practice-turn’ (Schatzki, Knorr-Cetina & von Savigny, 2001).
The paradigm dialogue’s people-centred inquiry approach (Guba & Lincoln, 1982) generated multiple alternative investigative methodologies to the scientific method, an approach which until that time had dominated research practices. Several of the alternate approaches were relevant for professional practice investigation. The propositions within this paper are contextualised within one of the posited alternate methodologies, ‘practice-led inquiry’ (Gray, 1996), distinguished from other forms of practitioner research by its starting or initiating point within the inquirer’s own practice. This defining feature is problematic for some practitioners who have difficulty describing their practice, and specifically describing it in ways that open the practices to interrogation and inquiry and generate new knowledge and theory.
This paper posits Provenance as a strategy/process within practice-led inquiry to enable practitioners to recognise knowledge about practice arising from their own experiences and utilise that in their theory building. The term Provenance describes the history and ownership of a given artefact, and the artisans who have informed its making. We discuss professional’s utilisation of Provenance’s within practice-led inquiry (Gray, 1996) to identify origins of their practice through nominating critical incidents and literature that have informed development of their practice (Finlay, 2002; Davies, 2008; Hill, 2014; Hill & Lloyd, 2015). Provenance thus creates a starting point and scaffold for practice-led inquiry, enabling a professional to interrogate their practice to build meaning about how a given professional practice can be understood and undertaken. This stands to contribute to the growing discourse about professional practice. Provenance can also support extended inquiry into a practice by scaffolding solicitation of other professional stories about a given professional practice.
Provenance resonates with action inquiry, both in iterative cycles of action and reflection (Hill, 2014) and in the use of ‘first person action inquiry’ (Reason & Bradbury, 2001). It allows professionals to connect back and identify turning points in their own professional development. It affirms the practitioner/inquirer’s own understanding and knowledge of their practice. The narrative that evolves from initial consideration of critical events, and sometimes literature that have informed development of professional practice, can be repeatedly revisited to remember, reflect and change more and more detail, generating new knowledge about the practice.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: N200 Management studies
X300 Academic studies in Education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE) > Re-thinking Creativities
UoA Collections > REF2021 UoA23: Education
Depositing User: Geof Hill
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2018 07:52
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2018 09:58
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6051

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