Diffraction or reflection? Sketching the contours of two methodologies in educational research
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Internationally, an interest is emerging in a growing body of work on what has become known as ‘diffractive methodologies’ drawing attention to ontological aspects of research. Diffractive methodologies have largely been developed in response to a dissatisfaction with practices of ‘reflexivity’, which are seen to be grounded in a representational paradigm and the epistemological aspects of research. While work on ‘reflexivity’ and ‘critical reflection’ has over the years become predominant in educational and social science research methodology literature, our reading indicates that there is still important conceptual work to be done putting these two practices – reflection and diffraction – in conversation with each other and exploring their continuities and breaks as well as examining the consequences for research methodologies in education. This article raises important questions about how the concepts of diffraction and reflection are defined and understood and discusses the methodological implications for educational research.