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Research

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1. What are your root metaphors as a therapist?

If you "interpret" as a therapist, explore types of research which are based on a similar metaphor (e.g., hermeneutics or phenomenology). If you are a "story- er" as a therapist, try looking at narrative analysis, narratology, literary theory, or literary criticism for ways to understand, challenge, or change your ways of therapy (and research). Try choosing these approaches to inquiry based on a sense of coherence: Does it make sense to examine my work this way? Is there a good fit between this particular lens and my work? Will I be persuaded by the results of such a juxtaposition?

2. Have you shopped around in the research market?

There are probably more research methods and styles than there are researchers. If you are basing a "Research is not for me" position on a familiarity with only quantitative research or scientific qualitative research, you don't get out very often. Try Nick Smith's (1981) book, Metaphors for Evaluation: Sources of New Methods, for a starter and then go from there. If after you have examined twenty or thirty methods or analyses (e.g., ethnographies, ethnomethodology, ethnonursing, conversation analysis, discourse analyses, frame analyses, case study, participant observation, thematic analysis, feminist critiques, etc.) and you still can not find anything relevant to your practice, see Provocation 3.

3. If "research" is not your thing, have you tried "reflection"?

If the metaphor of "research" is not informative to you or your work, take a look at Donald Schцn's books, The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action (1983) and Educating the Reflective Practitioner: Toward a New Design for Teaching and Learning in the Professions (1987). Both works suggest ways in which the professional (i.e., both researcher and clinician) can study and reflect on their style of professional knowledge and how that context shapes their work and vice versa. Another take on this approach to research can be seen in Dorothy Scott's (1990) recent paper, "Practice Wisdom: The neglected source of practice research."

4. Try writing an autobiography about your clinical life.

In researching this text, ask yourself some questions like: What helped to make you the therapist you are today? What made so much sense to you that you decided that working the way you did had to change? What was so persuasive that you decided to keep doing what you were doing? Somewhere along the line you re-searched or re-examined your practice. Try to re-experience that experience again and see what happens to your way of being in the clinic and then record your story.

5. If you have a curiosity about therapy, itch it.

Take a closer look at what perplexes or surprises you about therapy and let that curiosity lead you to an extended scrutiny of that which you are just not sure. Just about everything in life deserves or calls for a second or third look, even therapy.

6. When did therapy and research become so different from life?

Why do researchers and therapists defamiliarize life so much when it comes to understanding therapeutic interaction and use such strange terms like "therapeutic interaction?" How would you study clinical practice, another defamiliarizing term, if it were just plain old life? How do you make important decisions in life? How do you make important decisions in therapy? Compare the two patterns and note the similarities and differences.

7. Have you ever heard of artistic qualitative research?

Most of what is termed "qualitative research" should be more correctly called scientific qualitative research because these researchers are still being informed by scientific, as in quantitative research, philosophies and practices (e.g., validity, reliability, generalizability, etc.). There is another qualitative research tradition which is based not on a scientist's way of knowing, but on an artist's way of knowing. Elliot Eisner's (1981, 1985) work has helped to define this approach to qualitative research and is highly recommended. Of special note are his concepts of connoisseurship and criticism (Eisner, 1985). Also, if scientific or artistic approaches to qualitative work seem uninformative, read Mary Lee Smith's (1987) paper, "Publishing Qualitative Research," because she presents still other styles of qualitative inquiry.

8. Work on developing some interesting questions about therapy and ask them.

This is my latest favorite question: If scientific or experimental research is so good for clinicians to follow, why haven't researchers designed experiments comparing outcome and/or process of scientifically-informed therapists with clinically-informed therapists and publish the results rather than just telling clinicians to read research and change? Following Kerlinger (1986, pp. 4-5), we must go beyond such "common sense" notions of "therapists should be informed by scientific (i.e., controlled experiments) research" and as scientists, we should "systematically and consciously use the self-corrective aspect of the scientific approach" (p. 7) to pursue this relationship. In doing so, the rhetoric of scientists/researchers can move from a "method of authority" (p. 6) to a "method of science" (p. 6) in their conversations with therapists.

9. Do some soaking.

Of course a good bubble bath is always nice, but what I mean here by soaking is a concept first introduced by Norman McQuown and his colleagues, Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, Henry Brosin, Charles Hockett, Gregory Bateson, Ray Birdwhistell and others, (1971) in their Natural History Method. In their analysis of human interaction, they would view a filmed sequence over and over again so that they could "soak in" as much of the details of the interaction as they could (see Chenail, 1991 or Leeds-Hurwitz, 1987 for more information about this project, or order the original study from the University of Chicago). As they were doing these soakings, they would choose sequences of special interest to them and then produce elaborate, multi-layered transcripts of the event sequences. In suggesting soaking, I am not saying that you view a tape of your clinical work a thousand or more times, which some conversation analysts do in their analyses,

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