Critical Incidents and Reflection: Turning Points that Challenge the Researcher and Create Opportunities for Knowing

Jul. 15, 2010

Source: International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Volume 23, Issue 4
(July 2010), pages 449 – 461.

Qualitative research makes it possible to reveal the often invisible but no less real complexities of social structures and opens venues for knowing human and social life more fully.

In this article, the authors draw on data from two qualitative research studies that used critical incidents as a device for investigating the nuances of human interaction within two educational settings. The authors look across the two studies to illuminate commonalities as well as differences in their approaches.

Through this analysis, the authors demonstrate how the inclusion of critical incidents affords both participants and researchers 'turning points' in ways of thinking about and reflecting upon the complex contexts of their lived experiences.

The authors also consider how the use of critical incidents impacts the ethical and practical dilemmas inherent in everyday research practice.

Updated: Feb. 28, 2011