Researching close to home: Using refractive thinking to examine professional colleagues
A chapter regarding the aspects of conducting research on professional colleagues.
Examining the behavior of one’s colleagues under a microscope is a daunting leap of faith in the interest of learning. Jones (2013) completed the study entitled Examining Leadership Styles and Financial Performance within Rural Electric Cooperatives while serving as President and Chairperson of the Board of a rural electric cooperative and serving on the board of directors of an electric generation and transmission cooperative. Numerous participants were professional colleagues; all were general managers of rural electric cooperatives. By describing the research method, procedures, and problem-solving philosophy, Jones used in conducting research involving colleagues, other doctoral scholars may find practical solutions to meet the challenge and overcome the obstacles associated with researching close to home. Completing the capstone study of a doctoral degree is a demanding process with many obstacles. Maintaining a philosophy of never giving up regardless of the challenges, required revisions, or academic criticisms is essential. Doctoral researchers should recognize that completing a study is a team effort. Although the formal team consists of university committee members and academic advisors, doctoral students can access the expert knowledge of refractive thinkers to move beyond the obstacles. Refractive thinkers do not just think outside the box, they redefine the box, and never relinquish the pursuit of knowledge because of problems, frustrations, or barriers.