This website artifact contains the resources, procedure, data and outcomes of my doctor of professional practice research. The process comprised an investigation into the decision-making process which led to the conceptualisation of epistemology, methodology and method for conducting research of professional practice and introducing practical knowledge into the academy. The mainstay of the research process was an ongoing dialogue between myself and my co-researchers, and the parts of this dialogue which were conducted within online collaborative documents are presented in this website. Other material is presented here in texts, dynamic diagrams and video clips. Through this presentation format, I believe I will provide the reader with the most transparent and rigorous reflection of all the stages of the doctoral journey which I undertook, leading to my research understandings. My hypothesis is that this level of detail is sufficient for the reader to comprehend the procedure which we undertook, and to inspire other practitioner’s to conduct a similar procedure in order to extract their tacit knowledge, using my suggested methodology.
As a psychotherapist involved in a process of tacit practical knowledge extraction, an exploration of existing epistemologies was necessary in order to identify my epistemic stance as both a practitioner and researcher and to conceptualise practical knowledge in academic discourse. I considered methodologies while keeping in mind the QAA’s guidelines which state that the research methodology of the doctoral researcher-practitioner should be grounded in his practice approach.
Due to the complexity which characterised this doctoral process, it was unusually long but the challenges that arose during it became the incentives for further research and academic developments. The twelve-year process can be roughly divided into three chronological phases in accordance with the stages of my epistemic journey which are presented here. My realist tendency led me to explore the positivist epistemic positions, but I rejected the feasibility of presenting my practice approach in a positivistic model. While acknowledging the importance of interpretivism in psychotherapy, relying solely on this anti-realist position would contradict my epistemic stance as a practitioner. The focus of my approach and the target of my interventions is the interface between the positivist domain (the concrete circumstances) and the relativist domain (the patient's interpretation of his circumstances). To resolve this dilemma, in 2017, I located myself as a practitioner and researcher in the Critical Realist position, which proposes a stratified framework which relates to both the positivistic domain and the interpretive-relativist domain of human experience. Based on the premises of CR, in my understanding, our knowledge will always be a fallible hypothesis, which can be verified or refuted only in the face of a reality test. I conceptualised this in terms of a cyclic process of composing a forecast, constructing a hypothesis, choosing a probe or active intervention, observing the outcome, and detecting anomalies.
In order to ground and justify my practical knowledge products with reliable evidence beyond my personal viewpoint, I identified the necessity for the active collaboration of researcher-practitioners in such research. Since 2006, I had conducted regular professional discussions with my practice partner Anat Ben Salmon, who requested to learn about my practice approach. As co-doctoral students, we were aware of the meaningful practical knowledge which we produced during these discussions, and became convinced that this ongoing professional dialogue comprised our research methodology. By 2016 we had produced our model of practical knowledge in psychotherapy which forms the foundation of the syllabuses of the training courses we produced, and our tacit practical knowledge extraction model. Diagrams illustrating these models and the syllabuses are presented on this website. We have been teaching our courses in our academic training college since 2016. Despite these concrete practical products, my epistemic and methodological dilemmas and the lack of recognition of the supervisors of our collaborative methodology led both Anat and I to a dispute with the university in 2014-5.
From 2014, Dr Anna Cristal-Lilov, a British born physician, assisted us with the bureaucratic procedures. The timeline of correspondence and events with the University and supervisory authorities since then, presented here, provide an investigation into the feasibility of innovative practical knowledge production in the academy and the time and effort required for this. Possessing practical professional knowledge from a related field and wanting to learn skills from Anat and I, to apply in her practice, in 2017 when Anat and I resumed our doctoral studies, Anna became a member of our research team. In this trialogical framework, each researcher fulfilled a role which evolved due to his/her different specific skills. This collaboration enabled efficient practice and the production of meaningful practical knowledge products. The dialogue between the three of us enabled me to conceptualise my suggestion for a new epistemology for practical knowledge and a new methodology and method for its production in the academy, based on the premises of CR and the collaboration of researchers. Nevertheless, my struggle for academic recognition of my research and its outcomes was resumed in 2019, when my studies were terminated two weeks before the deadline for the submission of my dissertation. I submitted my work on time despite this decision, but it has yet to be assessed by the University staff.