Reflexivity and Narratives in Action Research: A Discursive Approach

  • Monica Colombo University of Turin
Keywords: reflexivity, narratives, inter-subjectivity, interpretative frameworks, action research


The paper offers an analysis of how narratives may be reflexively used at different stages of the research process as a tool to access the interpretative frameworks that actors use to construct their accounts of events and to make sense of their action. Inter-subjectivity is a determinant of the action research process as it is in the interactions between participants (professional researchers included) that certain versions of knowledge are produced. Action research can be seen as an ongoing process in which different narratives are co-produced allowing different interpretations to be actively constructed by participants. A case study is briefly presented where reflexivity is used both to clarify how accounts (narratives) are constructed (identifying concepts and categories used by participants to make sense of their action) and to allow different forms of knowledge to be developed by participants. Reflexivity is intended here as being inherently connected to action and as a part of the sense-making process in which both participants and the researcher are engaged. The problem of power relations between professional researchers and participants is discussed. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs030291


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Author Biography

Monica Colombo, University of Turin
Monica COLOMBO is a researcher in Social and Community Psychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Turin (Italy). Her main research interests are: discourse and narration, identity, qualitative research methods, action research and adult education