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Title: A critical examination and analysis of the processes by which educational psychologists constructed themselves as ethical professionals :to be what I am not
Authors: Devlin, Niall
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Abstract: The thesis problematized and critiqued Educational Psychologist-Client relations in order to understand and explore the processes by which Educational Psychologists (EPs) constructed themselves as ethical professionals. This was both a personal and professional journey because the thesis critically examined EPs’ professional identities while being an exercise in personal professional identity work. The author was therefore both researcher and researched. The methodology adopted a post-structuralist bricolage approach that appropriated aspects of Self-Study (S-S), Action Research (AR), and Autoethnography with a Foucauldian approach to data analysis. This was a strategic move intended to disrupt the dominance and authority of methodology. The four research cycles included: (1) an analysis of the write-up of a meeting with a 14 year old pupil (hereafter M), (2) a textual analysis of the Health Care Professions Council’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (HPCSCPE, 2008), (3) an analysis of a Focus Group (FG) discussion with nine EPs working within an Educational Psychology Service (EPS) and (4) a synthesis of the findings from the first and third cycles of research. Only the results of the fourth cycle were presented in the main body of the thesis. Three discursive themes with relevant subthemes were identified: (1) the problematic ethical relationship with the client, (2) the appropriation of ethical rhetoric and (3) the strategic presentation of the Educational Psychologist. The results suggested that ethics was a useful tool to examine EP-Client relationships and that the trials and dilemmas experienced during these encounters spoke to the discursive formation in which EPs worked. A wide range of ethical traditions and theories were employed rhetorically by EPs to warrant and legitimize positions and practice. The thesis radically challenged both the discourses of choice and the EP as the sole source of ethics in everyday micro-ethical encounters. EPs’ identities were argued to result from micro-processes in Education Psychology practice which entangled standards and ethics in EPClient relationships. Finally, problematizing the author’s practice opened up a space to have a different relationship to his practice.
Description: PhD
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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