A Living Educational Theory (Living Theory) Approach to Research and Life

A Living Educational Theory (Living Theory) approach focuses attention on the experiences and implications of living values that carry hope for the flourishing of humanity. These values are the life-affirming and life-enhancing values that give meaning and purpose to the researcher’s life. They are clarified as they emerge in the course of researching questions such as, ‘How am I improving what I am doing?’ They form the explanatory principles and standards by which improvements in both practice and knowledge-creation are judged.

The approach stresses the importance of extending the influence of these ontological and relational values and understandings in explanations of educational influence. In a Living Educational Theory approach to research and a human existence, individuals hold their lives to account by producing accounts of their living-educational theories; that is ‘explanations of their educational influences in their own learning, the learning of others and the learning of social formations, in enquiries of the kind, 'How am I improving what I am doing?'’(Whitehead, 1989).

A Living Theory researcher can use methods and draw insights from a range of other methodologies and theories, such as Action Research, Narrative Enquiry, Self-Study, Participatory Research, Autoethnography, Ethnography, Grounded Theory, Critical Theory and Case Study, as well as various quantitative methods. Researchers new to Living Theory research might visit an introduction and read the Advanced Bluffer’s Guide.

For tutors and action researchers on masters degree programmes interested in classroom research and action reflection see Action planning in improving practice and in generating educational knowledge See also the Master's Writings.

For Living Theory continuing professional development Programmes (CPD) see Living Values, Improving Practice Co-operatively.

For supervisors and Living Theory researchers on doctoral programmes interested in research methodologies see Doctoral Writings

For those wanting to develop their support for doctoral and masters researchers and looking for further references try here

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Jack Whitehead, Visiting Professor, University of Cumbria, UK. E-mail me at jack@actionresearch.net

What's new in the 2016-17 Academic Year?

Homepage of The Educational Journal Of Living Theories.

Current issue of EJOLTS, June 2016, 9(1) freely available

Open Reviewing, EJOLTS Teams and Community Space of The Educational Journal Of Living Theories.

The Login Page for the Community Space of EJOLTS

Global Assembly, in Cartagena, Columbia, 12-16 June 2017

Review article by Jack Whitehead and Ken Masters of Cairns, H. & Harney, I, B. (2014) Four Circles – Customs that are Law in an Aboriginal Cosmoscape: Justice, Mercy and survival in Bill Harney’s Imulun Wardaman Aboriginal Spiritual Law. (A Northern Australian People with their Intellectual World of Law in the Four Circles Tradition.) Published by Alan Mogridge of Excell Printing Group, Merimbula; Australia.

Network Educational Action Research Ireland (NEARI)

The First Global Assembly for Knowledge Democracy: New Convergences For Reconciliation, Cartagena, Columbia, 16 June 2017


Details of the Practitioner-Researcher 2016-17 e-seminar on JISCmail.

Join or Leave the 2016-17 Practitioner Researcher e-seminar on JISCmail.

Archives of the Practitioner-Researcher 2007-16 e-seminar on JISCmail.

Virtual Learning Space for 'Living Values, Improving Practice Co-operatively: Developing An International Action Research Continuing Professional Development Project'

The form for Joining or Leaving the Action Research Africa Network (ARAN) on JISCmail

The archives of the Action Research Africa Network (ARAN) on JISCmail

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