Critical incidents and cultural relativism - tools for survival in foreign context?


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Reflective Practice;16(2)


Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

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The aim of this study is to examine how physiotherapy students manage to convert and employ their intrinsic and extrinsic knowledge and skills in clinical contexts abroad outside Europe. The study is based on a qualitative a content analysis of 10 Bachelor theses in the form of case studies written in pairs of Norwegian Bachelor students. Findings that emerged in the document analysis were the students ’ uncertainty concerning types of roles and knowledge discourses involved in the interaction. The students who managed to identify critical incidents and apply a cultural relativistic approach managed the convert- ing process. A conscious attitude towards own cultural norms and values opened up for integrating these in the new context. Theory and tools introduced as part of the preparations were shown to be functional when applied in practice. The importance of using critical incidents and culture relativism as methods for the students going abroad will be emphasized in the preparation courses.



This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Horntvedt, T., & Fougner, M. (2015). Critical incidents and cultural relativism-tools for survival in foreign context?. Reflective Practice, 16(2), 171-181. [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at:].

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