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Keep checking back as this page is going to undergo a massive but gradual reconstruction. A lot will be transferred to http://www.spanglefish.com/livingtheorymasters where we are putting resources etc to support 'Living Educational Theory research - Masters Level'.


These lists of books, papers and websites have been developed initially for those engaged on a Living Educational Theory research Masters programme. They are grouped to help you find what you might be looking for. Some references will be found in more that one group.

Nothing is created in a vacuum, as with the knowledge you are creating through your Living Educational Theory research. So, you will want, and need to, continually develop your scholarship in order to appraise knowledge that has been created by others as well as yourself, and integrate insights you develop into your knowledge creating values-led research to improve it. Reading 'deep' and 'wide' takes time and effort and can feel overwhelming. So, in each group we have identified a few we think provide good places to start ('essential') and others ('recommended') when you make time to extend your 'cognitive range and concern' and develop your scholarship.

If you cant find what you are looking for, have a question, a concern... please do contact us and we will do our best to help and in the process you will help develop a FAQ page that will help us all.

(Books, papers, websites)

And some more on particular methodologies and methods often used or drawn on:

- Narrative Enquiry

- Phenomenological research

- Grounded Theory Research

- Ethnography

- Case Study

- Action Research

- Auto-ethnography, Self-study research etc

- Phenomenography

- Practitioner Research



References and your living-educational-theory research account:

avoiding ‘genuflection', ‘sandbagging' and 'kingmaking'.

Authors of academic papers cite referenced extracts from the established literature in order to strengthen their accounts. High-quality papers include direct quotations from the literature within the author's paper, the source of each quotation being given in the References section at the end of the paper (in the case of publications in EJOLTs, using the Harvard referencing system). Ideally, each quotation should be integrated into the paper by means of critical engagement, rather than being cited as "Look – I've found another author who agrees with me". 

Many papers of lesser quality simply add references to the literature, without directly quoting relevant sections of text. These references do not significantly strengthen the author's account but simply indicate books and papers to which the author has referred as general reading when preparing to write their paper. This category of reference should be included in a Bibliography section, following the References section at the end of the paper. 

However, there are three types of reference that should be avoided, referred to by Michael Bassey as "... genuflection ... king-making ... and sandbagging". Bassey offers the following (fictitious) example to elucidate his point.

Piaget (1926) showed that children develop in stages and so it is no surprise to find that libraries for children are usually organised according to levels of complexity for readers (Adams, 1980; Brown, 1982; Collins. 1988). In planning this investigation we started with the view stated by Davidson (1981, p.1) that any collection of writings is a library. In designing our questionnaire, we used a modified form of that used by Edwards (1987, p.13).

In this extract, several of the references to the literature are superfluous or superficial. and should not be included. For example (paraphrasing Bassey):

  • the reference to Piaget can be described as genuflection (meaning ritualistic obeisance to one of the founding parents of educational theory).
  • the references to Adams, Brown and Collins can be described as sandbagging (meaning adding to a statement inert defences to make it look secure)
  • the reference to Davidson can be described as kingmaking (meaning giving undue authority to somebody by citing their unresearched utterance).

On the other hand the reference to Edwards is appropriate and necessary; indeed it would be plagiarism not to cite her. This section would better be written as follows:

First published in 1926, Jean Piaget's seminal theory of child development asserts that children develop in stages. Consequently, we find that libraries for children are usually organised according to levels of complexity for readers. In planning this investigation we started with the view that any collection of writings is a library and based our questionnaire on a modified form of that used by Edwards (1987, p.13).

Piaget should be referenced in the Bibliography section; Edwards should be listed in the References section.

Bassey concluded: "... the purpose of references should be to support the claim to knowledge of the paper, not the claim to being well-read of the author!"  (pp.10–11).

Therefore, when submitting a paper for publication in EJOLTs, please make sure that:

  1. your References and Bibliography sections are clearly differentiated
  2. you have not indulged in genuflection, king-making or sandbagging.


EJOLTs Editorial Board v.2023-03-01

Bassey, M. (1992) Creating Education through Research. British Educational Research Journal, 18 (1), 3–16. Presidential address to the British Educational Research Association, 29 September 1991 in Nottingham.

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