Where's the "Psychology" in British Educational and Child Psychology? An Exploratory Investigation into Educational Psychologists' Perspectives

Prof Doc Thesis

Curran, Paul 2009. Where's the "Psychology" in British Educational and Child Psychology? An Exploratory Investigation into Educational Psychologists' Perspectives. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsCurran, Paul
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The study aims to undertake an exploratory investigation into British Educational
Psychologists' (EPs) practitioner perspectives on the key psychological theories and
models that underpin their professional practice. It also aims to ascertain what the
implications might be of practitioner perspectives on this topic for future practice,
future training and continuing professional development of EPs hi the British context
as "applied" psychologists. Following a small scale national survey on the topic, five
focus group discussions were arranged to investigate the topic in more detail with
groups of EPs at various career stages. The focus group discussions were subjected
to detailed Thematic Analysis using techniques recommended by Braun and Clarke
(2006). Analyses were undertaken at both the explicit (semantic) and interpretative
(latent) level in order to develop a series of thematic maps. The literature review
found that although British EPs have consistently reviewed, evaluated and challenged
their professional practice in changing working contexts, there is a paucity of research
into their perceptions of the fundamental psychological theories and models that
underpin what they actually do "on the job", which was recognised as multi-levelled
and complex.
Four overarching themes emerged from the extensive interpretative analysis of the
data set as key to EP practitioner perspectives on what underpins and influences the
use of psychological theory and models in their professional practice. These were:
(1) Working context, location and the degree of role clarity within this;
(2) Professional self reflection on practice;
(3) Training, early supervision and continuing professional development;
(4) Developed psychological skills, competencies and knowledge, particularly
with a relevant research evidence base.
Surprisingly, the analyses found no evidence of expected themes relating to the
underpinning psychology for effective interpersonal skills or collaborative team work
in the EP practitioner perspectives. A "matrix of evidence for EP practice" is
proposed for future use based on the themes from the interpretative analyses
undertaken. The methodology employed and the analysis of the findings are both
critically appraised. The implications for further research into the topic together with
implications for EP professional practice and continuing professional development are

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Deposited24 Jun 2014
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