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Practitioner based inquiry: taking the case of homeopathy.

Smith, J. L., 2012. Practitioner based inquiry: taking the case of homeopathy. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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After twenty years of practising and teaching homeopathy, I am concerned that research into treatment by professional homeopaths has become stifled by evidence based medicine discourse. Homeopathy’s distinguishing features are obscured by erroneous assumptions that a homeopathic prescription is subject to the same biochemical pathways as pharmacological medication. Homeopaths are urged by external parties to ‘prove homeopathy works’ on biomedical terms. This reflexive inquiry is an attempt to redress the balance. From postmodern and pragmatic perspectives I reflexively engage with professional experiences (Smith, 2009) as a means of articulating practitioner based knowledge (Freshwater and Rolfe, 2001, Rolfe et al., 2001). The subjectivity of the practitioner researcher is transformed from a research problem into an opportunity to critically examine practitioner experience (Lees and Freshwater, 2008). The research process is a focus for the inquiry itself, with the intention of creating an open text that invites participation from the reader (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994). I ‘take the case’ of my own practice and its wider context, and enact a synergy of homeopathic practice and research methodologies. The thesis is organised around the eight principles of homeopathy. Case vignettes and homeopathy’s visual iconography (Cherry, 2008) are used to integrate clinical experience into the thesis. Multiple analytical strategies evolved, including discourse analysis, action research, narrative analysis and writing as inquiry. These are not applied to pre-existing professional experiential data (Lees, 2005), but engaging with these strategies has shaped data creation and the inquiry itself. Use of multiple methods is not an attempt to triangulate, rather the dissonance between them is essential to achieving competing and multiple perspectives on professional experience. There is no intention to present a discrete set of findings. The inquiry is framed through the inquiry process, creating an innovative approach to practitioner based inquiry as a collage of reflexive, experiential interpretations and interactions with professional practice. I redefine evidence as being the inquiry process itself and the practitioner as integral to knowledge creation and application in practice. The open dialogic text invites practitioners to adapt this model of practitioner based research in their own practices. The self-critical iterative dialogue gives voice to the practitioner researcher in discourses that are congruent with homeopathic practice. I make original contributions to knowledge by examining homeopathic practice from different theoretical and experiential perspectives, including observations on the connections between homeopathy’s enduring popularity and how the patients’ own belief systems about health and illness are still influenced by the old humoural system of medicine.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:20976
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:26 Nov 2013 15:10
Last Modified:09 Aug 2022 16:03


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