Reflective Practices in Community Development: A grounded analysis

Juan Moreno, Kaliat Sanyal, Firooz Firoozmand, Pauline Rutter, Marie K. Harder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reflective practices (RPs) are recognized as fundamental for the conception, development, implementation and improvement of community-based development in international development. Despite acknowledgement that RPs are needed, the ways in which reflection can take place within Community Development (CD) contexts remains under-examined. In this study, the authors conduct a grounded thematic analysis of a values-based elicitation and articulation approach with three community organizations in order to: (i) identify specific elements in the processes of reflection; (ii) explore how identified themes relate to existing concepts within RPs literature, and any useful insights to CD contexts; (iii) explore the ways in which values-based elicitation approaches facilitate RPs. UK organisations are used for convenience, but the study is for transferable learning to international development. In their analysis, the authors identify four main themes: Reasoning (justification, articulation, recall), Active listening (nuanced expansion, replication), Collective articulation (semantic cooperation, semantic negotiations, semantic disagreements), and Tension (confusion, resistance). These highlight the multi-dimensional, non-linear nature of RPs, the importance of productive tensions, and the need for the facilitators enabling processes of RPs to develop skills such as active listening, working with tensions and deep semantic negotiations. Findings indicate this approach can open up new lines of investigation of mechanisms underlying RPs which could assist in planning reliably for them. Challenges and opportunities for further research are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-525
Number of pages24
JournalSystematic Practice and Action Research (SPAA)
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Systematic Practice and Action Research (SPAA). The final authenticated version is available online at:


  • Europe
  • UK
  • Reflective Practices
  • Values-based approaches
  • Processes
  • Community Development
  • Facilitator
  • Community development
  • Reflective practices
  • Community organisations


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