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Frans Gieles & Jeanette Visser

Methodiek ontwikkelen voor praktijk en opleiding,
Verslag van het project Fondsforming Leefsituatiewerk

[Developing methodology for practice and education;
report of the project 'forming a fund of knowledge' for residential care work]

Raad voor het Hoger Beroepsonderwijs
Postbus 123, NL 2501 CC 's-Gravenhage, The Netherlands


Survey of an investigation of action research, in which residential care workers, instructors in the field of residential care and researchers have developed a methodology for said word, and for the vocational training for same. The process of developing a methodology is described and amplified by part of the results. The method applied and recommended here has proved useful for this process, and also for team counseling and vocational training. What it amounts to is that the "story" of one's functioning in practice is systematically told, analyzed and critically discussed in a cyclic process by which a methodology is developed.


methodology of action research; 
development of a methodology; 
residential care work; 
vocational training for residential care workers.


In order to function properly, a group leader or residential care worker needs professional skills and knowledge. The vocational training the future worker receives should provide these; however, there are many answers to the question of what sort of skills and knowledge are needed. In the field as well as in training circles the complaint is heard that training and everyday practice do not complement one another satisfactorily. 

However, it is a fact that, in the field, a store of knowledge based on experience already exists. If this knowledge could be developed and transferred in an explicit and clearly understandable form, there would come into existence a fund of empirical knowledge from which both field and training could benefit. The question if and how such a fund could be formed and developed, and to what results this would lead, is the subject of this study. The type of knowledge required has here been called: "knowing how to act".

In order to develop this type of knowledge, use has been made of the methodology of a comparatively new type of investigation, which is called action research. This is an investigation in which practitioners examine and develop their own conduct.

To make such an examination of conduct possible, the latter will need to be verbalized; the 'story' of the conduct in question must be told, analyzed and discussed in a critical dialectical dialogue (called 'discourse'). This will result in the mergence of ideas on knowing (better) how to act. Said ideas are put into practice, which is again narrated, whereupon the 'story' is again analysed and discussed. In this cyclic process the sought-after type of knowledge and know-how may emerge and be developed further.

With a view to making possible a complete narration, analysis and discussion of the 'story', the concept of 'acting' has been subdivided into seven elements, by means of which such a case history is elicited, written down, analyzed and discussed. In this manner, approximately 750 stories of group leaders and instructors in the field of residential care have been studied. This study was conducted in two regions, each subdivided into a number of circles, with 44 group leaders, counselors and instructors, as well as two project leaders, participating for over two years.

Parts of the text in Dutch

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