Hi, Janice and Jennifer. Thank you for submitting your paper
for review. First, in terms of my feedback here, I made some notes on the text
itself - which are largely to do with format. See uploaded attachment.
More importantly, I am honestly pleased that I've had the
chance to be one of the reviewers. It's a real privilege. It's been a genuine pleasure
reading through your paper today. I think it's a tour de force, engaging,
stimulating, thorough, scholarly and significant. It needs to be published.
There are some points I want to raise, however, and the most
significant of these relates to the location of Living Theory Methodology - as
you term it - within the academic literature (specifically how it relates to
action research). There is also, for me, a slight limitation in terms of the
illumination of your own learning as individuals. I feel not enough distinction
has been made there. These are outlined in more detail below. I also think you
could enhance the underpinning and logic of the paper by highlighting the
significance of seeing the values you seek to live by as themselves living and
·P. 2. KT - how does this differ from praxis? (p.
LLiLiving Theory Methodology (p. 3) - how is this
being used? How does it differ from Living Theory? In other words, is Living
Theory a methodology? This is an old action research debate, fought in the
nineties, between action research as a philosophy, and action research as a
methodology? Why can't it be both? It can be if you take methodology to mean
not only the tools you use by which you gather data and analyse it, but also to
be the underlying ethical principles, which motivate and inform the actions in
the first place.
·P. 4. "Today, it is universally expected that
health care practice decisions and actions are based on the best available
research (p. 4).” You cannot make a claim like that. It means there could be no
exception. You need to back up a claim like this.
·P. 4. In
terms of the theory-practice debate is it not also the case when we see actions
as proceeding from theory, rather than theory being created through actions?
·Pp 5-6. Not just standards of judgement but
living standards of judgement, i.e. standards that themselves develop in
practice over time (Laidlaw, 1996 - Ph.D. thesis at: www.actionresearch.net/living/living.shtml
·P. 7. "Validation of the data is triangulated by
research, each other and other practitioners.” I think you need to say a little
more here - who, for example?
·P. 11. Loving life so much is a lovely theme
that you bring in and show. It's what Whitehead calls, life-affirming energy.
Very powerful writing.
·P. 18 "Through the process of act, reflect,
revise cycles, within Living Theory Methodology...” I think this needs a
reference, and there is a sense in which you are using action research cycles
interchangeably with Living Theory cycles. Is there any distinction to be drawn
usefully here? Action Research isn't, as far as I understand it,
interchangeable with Living Theory research. Action Research is often contained
within Living Theory texts. I think this needs commenting on in some way. I'm
not asking for a definitive answer, but I think the awareness of possible
distinctions needs to be made here.
·P. 19. "Our first awakening to become
intentionally mindful in how we embody or contradict our values began with a
process of clearly identifying our values.” This is a powerful piece of writing
and really draws me in. The process you're describing here has real
relatability (Bassey, at: http://www.tlrp.org/acadpub/Bassey2000.pdf)
for me, and I suspect to EJOLTS readers as well. I hope it's all right for me
to say, this is lovely, powerful writing!
·P. 28. "Our model is constantly evolving and
includes multiple layers that are happening concurrently and at different
paces.”I really love that point. I
wonder if it would be enhanced if you looked back at the comment above on
living standards of judgement and related it to the way in which Living Theory,
like life, like values, develop as we develop. Just a thought. This would then more
strongly - in my view - relate to the slightly later comment: "We find that
knowledge is derived from practice, and practice is informed by knowledge, in
an on-going process.” Yes, and this is a powerful avowal of your learning and
why what you have done and written here is clearly Living Theory. Great stuff!
·P. 30. "In a Living Theory approach to action
research, 'you need to imagine ways in which you might begin taking action'
(McNiff, 2002, p. 17). That makes me wonder. Isn't it possibly the other way
round? Or could it not be seen as such? Isn't it an action research approach to
Living Theory, given that there are plenty of other processes, like
narratology, case-study and so on, that can form Living Theory? To be honest,
I'm not entirely sure but I think there are grounds for considering the
·P. 32. "We seek not to measure but rather to understand
and explain our knowledge translation process.” I really do like this: it's
powerful, convincing - because you already convinced me actually - and
qualifies your values very clearly indeed. This is you walking the talk. I
always look for that in a Living Theory paper: are the authors just writing about something, or are they showing it
in the practice of writing? And that's what marks this paper out for me as
really outstanding: you are who you say you are and you're becoming the
nurses/people you want to become. What could be more exciting and laudable than
·P. 32. The section on "what we have learned”
could be problematic. I think there needs to be distinctions made: you're not
an amorphous twosome! The learning you have done must have different contours
for both of you and I would like to know what those differences might be.
Perhaps simply a short paragraph by you as individuals would help here, with
then what follows, which seems fine if distinctions have already been made.
This is an important paper because it
reflects two practitioners' need to go beyond the straitjacket of the top-down
approach to change, i.e. theory into practice. Your paper demonstrates very
clearly how you travel the more complex, but ultimately more fruitful, journey
of practice to theory to practice in a continuing dialectic. The examples of
your practice are always telling particularly the Youtube ones, and it is in
these, quite rightly, that the paper genuinely lifts off the page and becomes
Living Theory. I was touched, for example, by the way in which Jackie interacts
with you on the example of critical friendship at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-P-KGnTjDU&feature=youtu.beI could feel her
concern and the warmth between you all. I remember many years ago when I was
sceptical about Jack's insistence on the use of multi-media to enhance text. He
was absolutely right and here is a prime example of how you use the technology
(it doesn't use you) to illustrate not only the sense of what you're writing,
but the heart of it too. And that really matters in academic discourse, because
it can be pushed aside and it is so often where the writers actually live.
Another reason I think this is an important
paper because it's about two people educating themselves. In a 2005 paper
Whitehead wrote: "Such intentional relationships prevent me from
claiming that I have educated anyone, apart perhaps for myself, in the
determinate sense of an 'if-then' causal relationship. I am meaning this in the
sense that because I did something then the other person learnt something of
value.” (See http://www.jackwhitehead.com/monday/jwedth.htm
for details.) This sense of being responsible for educating oneself and its potential
influence on others is something that seems to emerge out of, and develops
into, Living Theory (see Huxtable and Whitehead, 2013 at: http://www.actionresearch.net/writings/bera13/mhjwbera13joint.pdf
for example, and Whitehead, 2013 at: http://ejolts.net/files/Whitehead6(2).pdf
) I think the stance you both take towards this crucial issue makes this
article special because it connectsthe
values you are seeking to embody more fully with the potential to offer others
a light by which they may want to guide their own practice and theorising.
However, you are not prescribing that influence, and that's also key to Living
Theory as I understand it.
without a doubt that this paper needs to be published. I believe, however, that
some of the points I raise above are worth considering in terms of any
revisions you might want to make. I offer almost all the above as possible enrichment
to what you have already produced, but in the area of commenting on what has
been learned from the process by each of you as individuals (towards the end) I
feel you do need to make those revisions.
don't hesitate to get back to me if there is anything you would like me to go
through. I look forward to seeing your responses.