The ways in which we approach systems development practice and research playa major role in shaping professional development within our field. This paper investigates a particular approach, Reflective Systems Development, which has been developed over the past twenty years by a small group of mainly Danish researchers in collaboration with practitioners and students. In this approach, researchers focus on how computerbased information systems are developed in practice; they emphasize the important role played by the local organizational environment; and they combine interpretive understandings ofpractice with normative propositions to support professional development.

The purpose of the paper is to present and evaluate the underlying assumptions and practices of Reflective Systems Development focusing on the following questions: How should we understand, support, and improve practice? How should we organize and conduct research? How should we relate practice and research? The argument draws on the literature on systems development and on the author's experience as an active participant in developing the approach.