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A Suggested Structure for Living Educational Theory Research Papers

This advice concerns the overall framing of your account; it does not dictate the labels that you may choose to apply to  the separate parts of your account



1. Preliminaries

Title page / abstract 

See a typical title page of an EJOLTs paper

e.g. at https://ejolts.net/node/392

2. Introduction

Expansion of the abstract, outlining the enquiry in terms of its:




3. Main text

A developmental and structured account that gives full descriptions and explanations of the research process and its outcomes.

The research question: context

Planning: research principles (methodology) and techniques (methods)

Carrying out the research: engagement and observing

Gathering data 

Validating data

Analysis: generating the research outcomes

4. Conclusions

The knowledge generated by the research, and its implications

5. References

A list of extracts from the literature directly quoted in the paper (latest APA version)

6. Bibliography

A list of sources given in the paper but without quoted extracts (latest APA version)



Living Educational Theory Research Communities of Practice  started in a number of university such as North-West University South Africa.

Recording of Marinda Neethling conversation with Jack Whitehead getting Living Educational Theory Research started - recording.

Note recently sent:


The North West University also has started a group, as you will see on https://www.actionresearch.net/writings/posters/homepage2021.pdf.  We are learning from how the various groups are developing. We have found that it is important for the leader of the group to keep people informed and send reminders of the meetings. It also helps people to feel comfortable to come into the virtual meetings if a consistent ‘form’ is established. For example, this form seems to work well: The meeting starts with each person giving a 2 minutes update saying whatever they feel comfortable saying about their research/enquiry/practice. When everyone has spoken the group focuses on people’s research in turn with a conversation to help them progress using the planner below.


We are developing resources to support Living Educational Theory Research CPD COMBER on http://www.spanglefish.com/livingtheory. Let us know if there is anything that you would find useful that isn’t there.




(A living-educational-theory is an educational practitioners valid explanation of their educational influences in their own learning to improve their educational practice, the learning of others to improve theirs, and the learning of the social context of the practice.)



An easy and visual way of putting your professional educational practice in context is to create a living-poster. (Details on https://www.actionresearch.net/writings/jack/livingposterletterA.pdf)

One way that we could sustain a conversation is by sharing our living-posters and our progress and challenges. You could click on https://www.actionresearch.net/writings/posters/homepage2021.pdf to see the living-posters from around the world together with some suggestions on creating and sharing your poster. Send us yours and we will add it to https://www.actionresearch.net/writings/posters/uocgp21.pdf


What is your concern/What do you want to improve?

Living Educational Theory researchers usually ask questions, which are directed at improving the quality and understanding of their educational practice and the social context in which their practice is located and clarifying the nature of the enquiry.

What are your reasons for your concern?


What might you do to improve your practice?


How will you know that your practice has improved? How are you going to find out? What kind of data have you, and can collect, which will enable you to make a judgement on the outcomes of your educational practice in terms of the quality of your own or teachers' and/or pupils' learning?


What resources, support, research group etc will help you progress your research?


Which colleagues might you ask to join a validation group of some 3-8 individuals to help you to strengthen the validity of your draft evidence-based explanation of your educational influences in your own learning and in the learning of other.

Your explanations could be improved with the help of responses to the following questions:

  • How could I improve the comprehensibility of my explanation?
  • How could I strengthen the data I gather and the evidence I use to justify any claims I make in my explanations of educational influences in learning?
  • How could I deepen and extend my understanding of the sociohistorical and sociocultural influences in my workplace that influence my work and understandings?
  • How could I enhance the authenticity of my explanation in the sense of showing that I am living my values as fully as possible?
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