Our Living Educational Theory of Knowledge Translation: Improving Practice, Influencing Learners, and Contributing to the Professional Knowledge Base of Nursing-final submission accepted for publication December 2014
Here is our story- please let us know what you think
Janice Johnston and Jennifer Vickers-Manzin
This self-study captures our joint journey to create a living educational theory of knowledge translation in nursing. The failure to translate research knowledge into practice is identified as a significant issue in the nursing profession. Our research story takes a critical view of knowledge translation related to the philosophical inconsistency between what is espoused in the knowledge related to the discipline of nursing and what is done in practice. The purpose of this research is to explore our own challenges and success with knowledge translation as a way to improve our practice as well as to influence the practice of others. We employ Living Theory Methodology to address our issue. Our data analysis reveals key elements of collaborative reflective dialogue that include multiple ways of knowing, embracing vulnerability, inspiring authenticity, and improving learning. We find it is a culture of inquiry (Delong, 2013) that stimulates knowledge co-construction and has reframed our understanding of knowledge translation as a holistic, active process which reflects the essence of who we are and what we do.
(Edited by Marie Huxtable - original submission Tuesday, 7 October 2014, 2:41 AM)
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 therefore developmental.
·P. 2. KT - how does this differ from praxis? (p. 2)
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 possibility.
·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 that?
·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.
I think 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.
Please 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.
All the best, Moira
Thank you for all your edits and lovely and critical comments. We greatly appreciate it and will revise shortly.
Jan and Jen.
I really look forward to seeing any redrafting.
Best wishes, Moira
Re: Janice Johnston and Jennifer Vickers-Manzin paper
Moira has made specific comments in her review. I shall not attempt to add to her comprehensive response but would like to make a more general comment. Moira touches upon my concern when she says: "... I think this is an important paper because it's about two people educating themselves." My question is - two people educating themselves - or educating each other? And in this respect I have trouble understanding the 'voice' with which this paper speaks to me as it offers the descriptions and explanations of your enquiry..
This paper is jointly authored, as explained where the you state: "... We write together, and participate fully and equally in our joint writing process". However, I find problematic the voice of "we" that is used throughout the text. I am not sure if I am being addressed by HM the Queen or by Cora and Clarice from the Gormenghast novels. You introduce the word 'authentic' on page 20: "... When we pursued a collaborative study within our graduate degree, we were met with resistance. The chair of our graduate studies program originally stated: 'There are 2 degrees, should there not be 2 papers.' Acquiring approval to proceed in collaborative research required seeking support of key professors, writing a proposal and ultimately resulted in the university creating a policy. It was our desire for our research process to be authentic that moved us to action..." I just do not see the link between wishing to be authentic and writing as if entirely sharing the same world as a fused 'we'.
I cannot understand how you can "write together" as you claim and give a truly authentic voice that is a truly authentic We ... (and what might an authentic We be?). You say: "... We make clear our joint and individual contributions ..." but the voice is uniformly 'we' throughout, there being little clue as to which of you is making the leading contribution at that time to that particular 'we' and what the relationship between you is at the point of generation. Thus, the voice expressed by 'We' - for me - is not authentic, it is contrived. I need a preamble that makes clear to me just who/what constitutes the 'collaborative we' that is addressing me through the text of this paper.
Thank you for your thoughtful comments. It is great to hear how our words translate or not to others and where we need to be more specific. Your use of the word "contrived" is particularly powerful in inspiring me to ensure our voice reflects our process in a way that is comprehensible to the reader while maintaining our intended and authentic experience.
Please find our amended version. Thank you for the feedback.
Jan and Jen
Hello Jan and Jen. I really like what you've done with the issues surrounding the 'we'. I've just made a couple of comments on the lay-out in places, and a couple of typos.
Otherwise, as far as I'm concerned, I would now be happy to see this published.
A most stimulating Living Theory. Thank you.