Living Theory Group

Free copy of Jack Whitehead's 2018 book on Living Educational Theory (Living Theory) As A Way of 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 practitioner 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 of Education, University of Cumbria, UK. E-mail me at

What's new in the 2022-23 Academic Year?

Current issue of the Educational Journal of Living Theories (EJOLTS), June 2022, 15(1) freely available


Jack Whitehead's notes for the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of South Africa (HELTASA) webinar on the 14th July 2022.

Jack Whitehead's presentation on Researching your Educational Influences in Teaching and Learning, on the 28th June 2022 to the Edge Hill University Solstice/CLT Conference

Jack Whitehead's presentation on Expanding the frontiers of ARNA through Living Educational Theory Research on the 28th June 2022 to the Action Research Network of the Americas Conference.

Jack Whitehead's presentation on 'Researching Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: World Leading Educational Research at Edge Hill University' on the 27th June 2022 to Edge Hill University staff.

Suresh Nanwani's book on' Human Connections: Teaching experiences in Chongqing, China and beyond'.



Network Educational Action Research Ireland (NEARI)

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