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Research methodology for researching professionals

R Sale International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2016

Rather than concentrating primarily on the content of my research, I focus here on the process of carrying my research for a professional doctorate. Referring to Bourner, Bowden and Laing’s (2000) distinction between professional researchers and researching professionals, I question whether the methodology used by aspiring academics is necessarily relevant for practitioners, such as me, who carry out doctoral research from within their professional practice. I spell out some of my philosophical attitudes and beliefs and show how these influence my approach to research. I then describe in some detail what I refer to as my research practice, covering key processes such as: absorbing existing information; initiating the production of new information; processing information to create new understanding; and expressing such understanding. I include a very brief description of my findings in order to illustrate the sort of knowledge that emerged from my research practice and follow this by a discussion on quality, limitations and implications. Finally, I challenge the reader to consider their own research practice.

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