Subscribe to Just Practicing Subscribe to Just Practicing's comments

Posts tagged ‘practice’

Please note: if you are studying TU811 the contents of this blog should not be favoured above a detailed reading of the module material and assessment information and advice from your tutor.

 The OU module TU811 Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change introduces the concepts ‘area of practice’ and ‘situation of interest’.  I studied this module in 2010 and I now have the privilege of being an associate lecturer on that same module.  The other evening I told my group of students that – with hindsight – I didn’t really ‘get’ the concept of ‘area of practice’ when I did the module and tried to explain why.

Read more »

My blog doesn’t get a massive number of visitors, but in the last couple of days I’ve noticed an increase in hits on some of my oldest blogs – the first ones I did as I studiously studied Tu812 Managing systemic change.  Today’s busiest post – Taking a design turn in my systems practice – was written on 16 January 2011.  That means that at this time in 2010 going into 2011 I was just grappling with the idea of the design turn for the first time.  It was ‘that winter’, the one with really really heavy snow.  I remember gazing out the window as slabs of snow slid down from the roof, enjoying the distraction from reading about the juggling balls and design turns.

Read more »

The policy work practitioner – that’s what’s invisible.  I don’t know what makes a profession a profession but there are people out there (me included) who do policy work.  We’re a bit eclectic, there isn’t a specific body of training or degree we’ve all had.  But we are ‘professional’ level workers.  Do our job well and we help society, do our job badly then there can be missed opportunities or unintended consequences.

I was in a library today linked to a university health and social care faculty.  There were rows and rows of books on ‘nursing practice’ and a whole other set on ‘teaching practice’.  Nurses and teachers are advised on how to be reflective practitioners, to be ‘evidence-based’, to close the theory-practice gap and there are books on ‘practice development’ (a deliberate individual and collective orientation to improving how work is done – as compared to professional development which is more about an individual gaining knowledge and skills).  There are even books written – in fact flourishing sets of literature – about how to use (emancipatory) action research in education and health care settings.  This stretches to social work too.   And that’s just the books – there is an even greater wealth of journal articles, even entire journal titles, dedicated to practice development in these areas.

Now I have searched and searched and searched online and I have only found ONE book (written in 2005) that specifically talks about the work of policy – and that isn’t available in any of the three university library catalogues that I have access to. [If you look for books ON policy or theories of the policy process you have more luck, but these are grand theories, not about the day to day doing of policy work].  The editor of the book Colebatch wrote a journal article around about the same time which gives some insight into what is covered in the book.  It highlights the type of work that policy work practitioners do and how different conceptualisations of what policy and the policy process is can result in different orientations to what the role is.  Colebatch has written a number of other articles that are helpful too, but on the whole this is a very, very small research base on what can be quite an influential role.  Whilst there is one article (Adams et al 2015) I have found focussing on professional development needs of policy work practitioners, I haven’t identified anything taking the broader practice development focus afforded to nurses and teachers.

So if I ‘creatively swipe’ the practice development ideas that are so well developed and accepted in nursing, what can happen?  Can we adapt and change policy work practice in a local authority?  That’s one way of looking at my research – that’s one ‘gap’ in the literature I’d be looking to put a small offer into.

References

Adams, D., Colebatch, H.K. and Walker, C.K. (2015), Learning about Learning: Discovering the Work of Policy. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 74(2), pp.101–111.

Colebatch, H.K. ed. (2005), The work of policy: an international survey, Lexington Books.

Colebatch, H.K. (2006), What work makes policy? Policy Sciences, 39, pp.309–321.

I’ve made myself a list of all the theories, concepts and key players that seem to appear in literature about the policy process.  The idea is that I use this braindump as a springboard to structure my reading a little more.   Kingdon and his multiple streams approach  was the first one on the list.  You see it in lots of places.

So I’ve read relevant sections of Hill’s book (2013) and Cairney’s book (2012) and a few other bits and pieces.  As Paul Cairney has written a great blog summarising all the key elements and concepts in Kingdon’s work I am not going to repeat all that here.

Instead I want to reflect on a few things.

Read more »

Given the name of this blog and my use of the Leonardo Da Vinci quote in the side panel, it just came as a bit of a surprise to me that I haven’t really posted before on the inter-relationship of theory, research and practice (the main exception being one on Knowledge into action).  Or maybe it is because the whole blog is implicitly about that very topic, that I’ve never thought to address it explicitly.

Read more »

I’ve just been reading a book that draws on the work of Wittgenstein to state:

“He [Wittgenstein] maintained that there are two main kinds of problem: problems of ignorance (there are things existing that we do not know enough about and therefore we require more information), and problems of confusion (we have the information but we do not understand what it amounts to).”

Hart (1998, page 141)

This got me thinking…

Read more »

I’m now officially four days into the induction programme for my Professional Doctorate in Public Health at the University of Lancaster.  We’ve got some on-line induction activities to do – then in a couple of weeks is the summer residential academy.  I’m looking forward to meeting my fellow students for ‘real’ beyond the on-line networking we’ve started.

But today yet again, I found myself inquiring into the relationship between ‘doing my job’, ‘doing research’, ‘producing knowledge’ and what these things mean with respect to the relationship with my colleagues and others who will become ‘participants’ in my research.

Read more »

A while back, I wrote a blog with a similar title to this – but with ‘systems thinking’ rather than ‘research’ the focus of the answer.  That blog was inspired by Ison (2010, 187)’s discussion about – if ‘managing’ is the answer what is the question.

This frame of inquiry came to mind today as I started thinking about the purpose of ‘research’ – what is the system to which doing research is the answer?

Read more »

A conversation on my LinkedIn STiP alumni group has sparked me to think once again about the concept of a ‘design turn in my systems practice’.

It’s been a while so let’s recap.

Read more »

There seems to be a bit of a thing going on this week about terms like measurement, targets, payment by results, outcomes.  It has been going on a while in conversations I have had (both face to face and on-line) and a number of systems bloggers are writing about it but it all seems to be getting a bit busier this weekend…it seems to be coming to a head.

So to start with I’ll mention all the activity that has prompted me to turn to the keyboard to add to the conversation – or if not adding to it then at least summarising where my own thinking is going to. Read more »

%d bloggers like this: