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The Scholarly Practitioner

Bentz and Shapiro (1998) in the chapter five (“The Scholarly Practice – Facing the Loss of Identity through the Onslaught of the Information Age”) suggest scholarly practitioners to accomplish their research project with good groundwork. The researcher’s role involves “using professional practice and knowledge as a resource for the formulation and production of scholarly practice and knowledge as well as for evaluating, testing, applying, extending, or modifying existing knowledge” (p. 66). Because of debates and controversies surrounding the knowledge crisis, researchers must justify their choices. The authors’ pedagogical strategy trains practitioners to actively engage in the critical evaluation of their activities throughout their research project. They identify the primary functions of the scholarly practitioner as follows: personal transformation, the improvement of professional practice, the generation of knowledge, and appreciation of the complexity, intricacy, structure and – some would say – the beauty of reality (p. 68).

Professionals and scholars should create outlines of research traditions that are relevant to their projects. The framework includes the theories that shape those traditions, the empirical findings that pertain to each tradition, their outstanding problems and questions, and good quality activities and summaries, useful for teaching (e.g. four points on ‘how to construct a valid map of one or more research traditions into which your research fits’ (p. 71)). They also provide guidance on skills competencies for the researcher, a list of habits to become informed about the various research traditions (pp. 72–73), and a list of critical questions for the evaluation of a research proposal (pp. 74–75). Another list of questions is used to evaluate the epistemological authenticity of the research (p. 75).

Reflective awareness of the acts of generating and validating an idea prepares researchers to detect inexplicit biases and assumptions in their research. Finally, a set of questions helps researchers select a method (p. 78). Motivations for selecting a particular topic should be examined. Factors are cited that are used to appraise the feasibility of the project (p. 81). These pedagogical strategies are invaluable for “sculpting” a researcher.

In the Dialogue Central, the presenters of individual research proposal (Toha and Kendra) could use the first central concept to develop an approach to their research tasks that is the idea that the researcher is a scholarly practitioner at the centre of the research process (Bentz & Shapiro, 1998). This concept of the researcher and a professional is not unique to these authors, but they are perhaps unusual in that they have made this kind of researcher the key audience for their approach. They define a scholarly practitioner as:

someone who mediates between her professional practice and the universe of scholarly, scientific, and academic knowledge and discourse. She sees her practice as part of larger enterprise of knowledge generation and critical reflection (Bentz & Shapiro, 1998, p.66).

Corresponding to these clarifications of the importance of the theory-practice connection and also remaining true to their interests and roots in both areas, they could manage the research with both theoretical and practical questions and goals. In this manner, they are identifying themselves as scholarly practitioners, reflecting on their own practices and the practice of others with the intent of influencing the practice of those involved in similar work as well as contributing to knowledge construction.

Reference:

Bentz, V. M., & Shapiro, J. J. (1998). Mindful Inquiry in social research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SagePublication.

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