This article explores the use of reflective practice statements as sources of data. Under certain conditions reflective practice statements can be interpreted as providing insight into the underlying mechanisms at work in organisations. The article presents an analysis of reflective practice statements produced by lecturers in higher education who have participated in a course for research supervisors. Reflective practice in higher education has not yet become institutionalised as a form of professional socialisation and the article argues that participants were actively engaged in meaning making. Such statements can be seen as productive of real insight. The data is analysed in terms of the craft skills involved in supervision, the contradictions of maintaining a sense of expertise in modern universities, the significance of emotion at work and in terms of institutional power relationships. The article concludes that properly contextualised reflective practice can produce knowledge of the mechanisms at work in the contemporary academy.
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