Background Personal professional theories are personal interpretations of formal theories, work process knowledge and notions about professional attitude in a specific occupational domain. They are assumed to be frames of reference for professional experiences and guides in action simultaneously. Therefore, students should develop adequate personal professional theories during their education. Aims To make detecting development in personal professional theories possible, strategies need to be validated for revealing them. Two strategies are compared, by grading them on 3 aspects of adequacy (i.e., richness, coherence and content), to see which one reveals personal professional theories better. Sample Sixteen vocational education and training students of 2 training courses. Methods Two strategies are chosen; concept mapping and the combination of concept mapping with stimulated recall. Results Both strategies succeeded in revealing personal professional theories: The constructed maps displayed personal interpretations of formal theories, work process knowledge and notions about professional attitude. However, the concept maps of the combined strategy did worse on all aspects of adequacy. Conclusions The concept mapping strategy appeared better for revealing personal professional theories. Several explanations are offered, which deserve further investigation. Hence, despite the project’s small scale, the outcomes provide in interesting clues to reveal personal professional theories
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