Stimulated Recall as a Focused Approach to Action and Thought Processes of Teachers

Roland Messmer


The link between human thinking and action has received little attention by researchers. While actions are observable, thinking processes are hidden to them. When researchers ask individuals to explain their thinking processes associated with a specific action, they tend to adapt their preceding thinking processes to match the action, whether those processes are accurate or not. However, any study dealing explicitly with thinking processes has to cope with this problem. In this article I argue that Stimulated Recall Analysis (SRA) can offer a solution to this thorny methodological issue.

First, the practice of SRA is illustrated as an investigative approach in the context of reconstructive social research, using a concrete example from a previous study about action and thought processes of teachers. The practice of applying SRA to this example serves as a kind of methodological guide for future studies. In the subsequent discussion, it is suggested that SRA proved to be a suitable empirical method to detect the internal thought processes of teachers. This research approach thus demonstrates ways for didactic research to base its theories and assumptions on a sound empirical foundation.



stimulated recall; SRA; thought processes; reconstructive social research; documentary method; teacher education; professionalization; physical education; thinking and acting


Copyright (c) 2014 Roland Messmer

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