Critical reflection in social work – new research

light_bulb_text_10995A guest post by Matt Rankine 

In this post Matt Rankine, a supervision researcher, from the University of Auckland in Aotearoa New Zealand reports on recent research with links to new articles.

Critical reflection provides opportunity for innovation within professional practice. This has become vital when considering the ‘bigger picture’ for professionals, service users and their interaction with oppressive structures within our society. A “thinking aloud” process. A way forward in social work supervision describes a thinking aloud process used in a study with supervisor–supervisee dyads in community-based child welfare social work to assist critical reflection. Thinking aloud is a technique that uses open-ended questioning and inquiry from audio-recorded supervision sessions to explore practice at a deeper level. Within the supervision session, this process compliments critical reflection on practice and provides a learning tool within supervision. The feedback from the dyads who participated in the study (Rankine, 2017) identified how thinking aloud developed problem solving and solutions that could transform their future practice.  Read the new article here

Rankine, M. (2019). The ‘thinking aloud’ process: a way forward in social work supervision Reflective Practice, 1-14. doi:10.1080/14623943.2018.1564651

Thinking aloud offers an example of how knowledge can be co-constructed by practitioners within practice and critical reflection captured within qualitative research approaches. Supervision under the microscope: Critical conversations in a learning community reports on the experience of four experienced supervisors, (Allyson Davys, Fiona Howard, Matt Rankine and Andrew Thompson, who are educators,  clinicians and researchers within their respective professions) who created a learning community for supervision. The participants created a model for critique and feedback which is centred on a ‘thinking aloud’ process. Supervisor authenticity and presence, encouraging reflection, participation and uncovering assumptions, and the benefits of the thinking aloud process were key themes discussed and explored by the group. The learning community was recommended as an important source for a supervisor’s continuous professional development. Read the new article here

Davys, A., Howard, F., Rankine, M., & Thompson, A. (2019). Supervision under the microscope: Critical conversations in a learning community Practice, 1-16. doi:10.1080/09503153.2018.1558196

Matt can be reached at  for further information.

See also Matt’s previous post on  his research.

Rankine, M., Beddoe, L., O’Brien, M., & Fouché, C. (2018). What’s your agenda? Reflective supervision in community-based child welfare services European Journal of Social Work, 21(3), 428-440. doi:10.1080/13691457.2017.1326376

About socialworknz

I'm a social work researcher in Aotearoa New Zealand
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