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Emancipatory learning: An exploratory study of critical reflection in Internet family studies students

, Michigan State University, United States

Michigan State University . Awarded


Little is known about the process of critical reflection in interpersonal relationships. The process of critical self-reflection, the personal application of critical thinking, is believed to be a necessary component of learning, especially in facilitating changes in personal beliefs and perspectives (Brookfield, 1987, 1995a; Ennis, 1992; Kitchener & King, 1994; Mezirow, 1981, 1991, 1996, 1998; Norris, 1992; Schön, 1987). Using Habermas' theory of emancipatory interests in knowledge, Brown (1993) identified the ability to critically reflect as an essential skill necessary in the profession of human ecology. The ability to critically reflect empowers the ecologist to examine the construction of personal meaning as formed by family, social and cultural environments and to identify and question those meanings that inhibit one from becoming authentic or self-fulfilling (Brown, 1993; Morgaine, 1992, 1994). Brown proposed that human ecologists facilitate this process in the families that they serve.

Interpersonal Relationships, FCE 444, is an Internet course designed to facilitate critical reflection in students. Using a qualitative research model of grounded theory and a general theoretical framework for critical reflection, evidence of critical reflection was documented within the students' semester papers and analyzed. From this analysis, a conceptual model of critical reflection was developed that accommodates multiple methods of emancipatory learning and critical reflection. It is hypothesized that no one model of critical reflection can adequately describe the process that individuals might utilize when critically reflecting on an intimate relationship or integrating a formal course of study with personal beliefs.


Bailey, D.C.D. Emancipatory learning: An exploratory study of critical reflection in Internet family studies students. Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State University. Retrieved September 16, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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