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Critical Realism

Trialogue 2017-2019 Projects

Eventually, following the University’s recognition of the authentic collaborative process which we had undertaken, an agreement was reached with them for the resumption of our studies. Obviously each of us would produce and present an individual dissertation in which he/she would present his/her role in the dialogic process and the outcomes he/she produced.

Having received summaries from each of us describing our role in the authentic dialogic procedure which we had conducted and the individual outcomes and practical products which we each produced, on Nov 2017, we began work with our new supervisors. Our new DoS was a specialist in collaborative learning, and our second supervisor was a practising psychotherapist. At this stage, the University and our new supervisors requested that we agree to proceed in accordance with a timetable of milestones, in which we were each to produce a dissertation and submit it for examination, within thirteen months (by Nov 2018). Our supervisors made no mention of the creative work (the website which I had already begun to construct) and the chronological format of the accompanying text describing my role in the authentic dialogic procedure, both of which the University’s research office had accepted, as the format of my dissertation.

Considering our collaborative methodology with our new supervisors, we drew from the attributes of the apprenticeship framework but eventually chose duoethnography as our methodology. Up till then, our dialogue had not been transcribed, because it had not been formally recognised by the University as our method. The diagrams below illustrate the four stages of our duoethnography which we transcribed in an on-line collaborative document at this time. These stages conceptualise the tacit knowledge extraction process at a more explicit level. 

From Information to Shared Working Model

Stage 3 of the duo-ethnographic dialogue initiated my thoughts and discussion concerning the child’s learning and development space. In parallel to our dialogue, I composed my essay ReachingOut learning Environment, in which I explore the interaction between parents and children and the development of the child’s personality in light of this relationship.

Copy of Educational Environment  - Page

Based upon the University’s demand, our supervisors requested that each of us conduct an analysis of the dialogue and compose a text presenting it to the reader. Since this stage comprised further extraction of tacit knowledge, it required the active participation of another practitioner. Anat could not fulfil this role, being required to conduct her own analysis of the dialogue separately. Anna as a medical practitioner, who had already reviewed and edited the English language of all my texts, was in a position to do this. She contributed aspects of her practical knowledge to the process, and identifying epistemic similarities between my practice approach to the practice of medicine, contributed to the analysis of the dialogue and the conceptualisation of my approach to psychotherapy. 

While constructing the duoethnography, analysing it afterwards, and composing the epistemology-methodology chapter of my dissertation, Anat and I observed the differences between our epistemic stances. I was finally able to position my epistemic stance within the Critical Realist framework, while Anat's approach to practice focuses on relativistic perspectives within the empirical domain of CR. We transcribed the dialogue concerning our respective epistemic stances in a further stage of our duoethnography. 

Ofer & Anat Dialogue - Ontology & Episte
Ofer & Anat Dialogue - Ontology & Episte

I conceptualised ideas concerning personal epistemology within the CR framework and produced diagrams to illustrate them. 

_Critical Realism The Real, The Actual a

I elaborated on personal epistemology with understandings concerning the different perspective of each individual, within what I term the relativist domain within the empirical dimension of the stratified reality of CR. A team of researchers, each of whom possesses a different personal perspective will be able to achieve a broader understanding of the phenomenon in question, detect more anomalies and elevate the explanatory power of the theory which they construct together.

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By this time Anat, Anna and I were researching as a team, and conducted dialogues between us, in dyads or all together in our triad. Each of us possessed different valuable skills, knowledge and capabilities and contributed their personal perspective. Through working within this framework we defined the roles of each participant and conceptualised this trialogic arena as a method for conducting academic research. Conducting collaborative research raises the issues of authorship and ownership of the knowledge and texted produced during the process.


The following presents my understanding of Personal Epistemology, Methodology and Method and reflects my practice and research approach.

Through Trialogue with Anna and Anat, I was able to continue my extraction process and conceptualise my suggestion for a critical realist model of personal epistemology development, by integrating the process of perception and knowledge acquisition into the CR philosophical framework. In order to establish empirical grounding for this integration, I capitalized on knowledge originating from various fields of investigation, including areas of human biology to which Anna was more closely acquainted.

This text describes an exploration of Critical realism, and the reasons why my epistemic position as both a practitioner and researcher is located within this framework. The text also presents my elaborations within the CR framework, which enabled me to conceptualise my suggestion for personal epistemology, methodology and method for producing practical knowledge and introducing it into the academy. The critical review and elaborations are interwoven with a chronological account of the events which occurred during my doctoral journey at this stage and which had an impact on it.

The dialogues with Anna led to the production of interdisciplinary practical knowledge within the interrelated space between our professions of psychotherapy and medicine/gynaecology.

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Despite the fact that I thought that I had actually contributed to the epistemic revolution which Schon called for to enable the introduction practical knowledge into the academy, I realised that it was impossible to present my findings in a standard chapter dissertation format. My epistemology, methodology and method comprised both my outcomes and my methodology and could not be presented in both chapters. I presented this crucial dilemma to my supervisors together with my desire to present the understandings and outcomes of my research in a diagrammatic-pictorial format which was more efficient for me in light of my learning disabilities. When we resumed our studies in 2017 the University had already agreed that my dissertation could take the form of creative work (website) accompanied by a critical review comprising a chronological description of my doctoral journey. However, my supervisors had nevertheless directed me to the standard written chapter format which gradually proved impossible to construct. Following these realisations and my honest statements regarding my learning disabilities, my supervisors supported me and directed me to present my special requests to the College Research Committee (CRC). Without relating to the crucial issues which I had raised, and without following the required procedure and warning, the CRC elected to terminate my studies. In response to this, I launched an academic appeal which was upheld, meaning that I was formally reinstated on the program. However, feeling betrayed by my supervisors for a number of reasons related to their behaviour towards me, I requested to change them. By then I had completed the second full draft of my dissertation, the text accompanying my creative work website, and submitted them by my deadline of 31st Aug. However, for two months I heard nothing from the University regarding new supervisory arrangements to support me in completion of the process of my finalising the content of my dissertation and examination on it. On 9th Dec, I suddenly received a letter from the legal advisor of the University, stating that the University could no longer support my studies and an offer of compensation.

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