American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 493–510

The Evolution of Epistemology and Concepts in an Iterative-Generative Reflective Practice: The Importance of Small Differences


  • Brian J. Bishop
    • Curtin University of Technology
  • Christopher C. Sonn
    • Edith Cowan University
  • Neil M. Drew
    • Edith Cowan University
  • Natalie E. Contos
    • Curtin University of Technology

DOI: 10.1023/A:1015855801188

Cite this article as:
Bishop, B.J., Sonn, C.C., Drew, N.M. et al. Am J Community Psychol (2002) 30: 493. doi:10.1023/A:1015855801188


Using a contextualist epistemology, it would be expected that regional differences in community psychology would develop over time. It is argued that the epistemology and theory of Western Australian community psychology, while largely based on North American approaches, has developed its own idiosyncracies. These developed through the integration of practice and theory in an “iterative-generative” fashion. The process of development is conceptualized in terms of Schön's and Altman's distinctions between foundational knowledge, and professional and socially responsive knowledge (I. Altman, 1996; D. A. Schön, 1983). It has also been characterized as an incremental development based on the reflection on tacit and conceptual knowledge. From the small differences that have developed between regions, a dialogue can emerge that will better allow understanding of how social forces shape people's actions.

reflective research practiceepistemologyWestern Australia
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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002