Reflective Practitioner Research Applied to Information Systems, Reality or Illusion?

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Business and Public Management


School of Business




Wong, E.S., & Williams, M. (2002).Reflective practitioner research applied to information systems, reality or illusion?. In: Lethbridge, N. (Ed.). E-conomy- from here to where? 3rd international We-B conference. Churchlands, Australia: Edith Cowan University School of Management Information Systems We-B Centre.


The term reflective practice, which recently has been gaining ground, refers to the means of developing professional expertise. Very Little evidence exits, however, about the effectiveness of such an approach to Information Systems research. Donald Schon outlines a theory of professional knowledge and its development through "reflection" whereby he argues that reflective practice, the ability to practise reflectively, distinguishes the expert from the merely competent professional. Thus the central question for this paper is the value of developing reflective practice skills and processes for the role of an academic IS researcher. Drawing on the evidence of studying a doctoral course over the last two and half years, the author argues that such development enhances doctoral students' ability to develop reflective skills and habits. The paper also identifies, however, that there were, and still are, unanswered questions about the transferability of the skills and processes learned as the author progresses into the vocational stage of IS research and the early years of practice as an IS researcher.