Open reviewing process

My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Stephen Bigger -
Number of replies: 15

I offer this paper for comments now it is through the anonymous review process. Only 6000 words allowed, which has been a hard target.

In reply to Stephen Bigger

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Caitriona McDonagh -
Hello Stephen,
I am delighted to have an opportunity to comment on your timely paper about Methodology and Theory. This is an extremely relevant and essential topic for me in supporting l-e-t research at postgraduate level.
Overall, I perceive your paper as an explanatory piece rather than a report of living theory research. It makes a strong ‘contribution to the field of Living Educational Theory research.’
I have some issues that I hope you will feel worth addressing in the next iteration of your paper. This will not require major rewriting, but I think the paper could be enhanced by a little further explanation about them. My questions relate to your conclusions (p.11) that, On theory, the emerging data is made manageable using thematic coding (Charmaz, 2006) and ‘Generalisations, made and scrutinized with care, may result over time’
What is the ‘‘archaeology of knowledge’ in relation to the use of thematic coding as a research method in l-e-t studies and how does this quantitative coding contribute to the validity of Living Educational Theory or Living Theory?
While coding has become a generally acceptable data analysis tool in social studies and psychological research etc., many l-e-t researchers are currently querying the soundness of its epistemological base in developing LETs. Their perspective suggests that if coding is to add to the theorising process, it should relate to the values underpinning the research. As O’Hanlon (2002) says, researchers can define their own forms of valid knowledge and present them as educational theories, so we need to show the validity of knowledge generated through a coding process.
The term ‘generalisability’ may need further teasing out because LETs are generated from particular contexts and are not generalizable or replicable in the usual understanding of those terms. Lomax (1994: 118) explained generalisability as encompassing ‘communicating to others.’ This idea may have relevance to l-e-t researchers understanding the significance of going public with their research as part of the theorising process.
Both issues might benefit from being ‘subjected to archaeology’
In terms of the paper it has met most of the criteria (see attached), I will send some comments on the paper for you to consider with my second email,
Looking forward to reading this paper again
Caitriona McDonagh
In reply to Caitriona McDonagh

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Stephen Bigger -
GRounded Theory and coding now gone - not needed. Generalisation comments now gone. Am clearing out odd sentences that survived from 10 earlier drafts to get a smooth reading. Will take a few days yet but it is going well. Thanks for your observations - all were good. S
In reply to Stephen Bigger

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Caitriona McDonagh -
Dear Stephen,
Here is your paper with my comments. Many of them may be addressed in the editing process and the others are offered as suggestions. You can decide if they are worth considering, or not, as you are the expert in this area of methodology and theory
Best wishes,
Caitriona McDonagh
In reply to Caitriona McDonagh

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Stephen Bigger -
Hi Caitriona, Thanks for those thoughtful comments. 6000 words is so difficult and last minute changes left their mark. Everything you ask seems doable. I agree with you on generalisabily, but clearly I have not said what I meant clearly. I will look at this. My paper does what Moira and Peter asked me too, which wasn't a l-e-t, but felt that the archaeology of personal knowledge had created a l-e-t out of the material. I might be able to signpost this. I hope to include a recording of their discussion. I am in and out of hospital at the moment so do excuse any delays. Marie sent on the email, so I will study that tomorrow. Time for bed now! S
In reply to Stephen Bigger

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Caitriona McDonagh -

Dear Stephen, 

Sorry to hear that these are difficult times for you. Thanks for your speedy response and for considering my suggestions.

I found the idea of an archaeology of knowledge very powerful. The key areas I think that you may wish to signpost, if you to present a l-e-t out of the material, might be the evidence of claims and validation processes.

That said, in the current iteration of the paper, you have teased out the archaeology of methodology and theory in ways that are very valuable. 

Caitriona


In reply to Caitriona McDonagh

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Stephen Bigger -
Alongside it I am writing a proper l-e-t to get ideas from that process. Thanks for your comments on generalisabily etc. I thought that was a poor section and have done a major rewrite in ways more relevant to LET research. Take care, S
In reply to Stephen Bigger

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Brian Jennings -
Hi Stephen, I’ve noted a number of comments that LET is not really Action Research. I’ve been puzzled by these comments as they’ve not be substantiated to my satisfaction. In this paper you demonstrate that LETS is an eclectic research stance (rather than approach) which employs a range of congruent approaches and methods. Find that it is both rigorous and comprehensive in exploring both the role of narrative 'archeology' and of different qualitative methods and critical approaches. I particularly appreciate the engagement with Freire and critical pedagogy - which as you note - generates hope an onward narrative if you like. In this regard it is an essential complement to critical theory.
I just have some minor quiries. Just after the Abstract you have a statement about standards that I don't quite get. I also think it would be help to indicate the difference between being a reviewer and referee. My last point is more dispensible. I began my career as an RE teacher in the early 1980s when the Schools Council RE project led by Ninian Smart was in process. I found that the phenomenological approach that he advocated enabled me to step outside of my religious identity and appreciate the religious identity of others. This was invaluable for a City of Birmingham teacher working with the Birmingham Agreed Syllabus, and later for a cross-cultural educationalist. It seems to me that you were probably part of that movement. Was Smart's work significant for you in anyway, and would it be worth noting?
In the meantime let me express my best wishes for your recovery.
I past the review proforma at the end of the draft as only one document  can be uploaded.

I recommend publication with minor corrections.

All best wishes,
Brian.
In reply to Brian Jennings

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Stephen Bigger -
Hi Brian, I had put this to bed before |I saw your comments of yesterday. The draft I have just posted (270321) has substantial differences to the 180321 that you have used (the problem of the rapidity of the special issue. I think my current text meets your point on AR. Yes Smart was part of my RE learning history and I was visiting lecturer in Lancaster at about that time with names like Gates and Gedge. Given we are only allowed 6000 words, that has to be for another ocasion. It was in fact dealt with in an earlier draft but I felt it was extraneous to the thrust of the argument. I deal in my 270321 draft with therapeutic phenomenology (e.g. Carl Rogers) but this of course draws on 'stepping out'side of power positions. The standards are part of the special issue rubric. I have recently updated the abstract to reflect subsequent changes. As I moved through the drafts (public within the author group) the brief given me about linking LET research to a range of approaches could change in the light that Jack (2018) had already done it and I could find a different coherence. I hope this helps. Keep safe, Stephen
In reply to Stephen Bigger

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Brian Jennings -
Stephen

I've just read the final iternation of your article and I'm delighted to recommend. Publication. It is one of the clearest explanations of LET that that I have read, for which many thanks indeed!

As as Christian was distressed and disgusted to read about the way that you have been treated in your church for your stand for justice and for your honest questions. On behalf of my community of faith let me give an unreserved apology and seek your forgivenness for the way you have been treated.

Best regards,
Brian
In reply to Brian Jennings

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Stephen Bigger -
I added some tweeks (Smart/phenomenology) the AR point was already sorted come to mind. Sorry I hadn't been told who and how many would open review (it is an unusual process) so my comment that I had put to to bed. Sorry about that. I found a paper by my former colleague Dense Cush marking the 50th anniversary of Smart and Working paper 36 (free access) so that is now in the references. Its short, you would enjoy a read. The guilty at the time owed me/us the apology and died without doing so. No body else does, I have enjoyed 60 precious years of interfaith dialogue since. But I do accept your sense of offence! Take care, S
In reply to Stephen Bigger

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Caitriona McDonagh -

Dear Stephen,

Well done on the newest version of your paper. It has gained a lot in terms of clarity. I am really looking forward to reading it in print and sharing it with students.

It offers a clear, concise explanation of a l-e-t- approach to research and will be invaluable to those new to this form of research.  It also offers useful new perspectives for experienced l-e-t researchers.

I am recommending it to the editorial board for publication. In the attached doc I included my reviewer’s guidance form and some comments on your paper.

Caitriona


In reply to Caitriona McDonagh

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation

by Stephen Bigger -
Many thanks. Your comments were important. I try to work with the spirit of the comments (so many in other journals just change a word or too) so took time over a substantial revision. As per my last paragraph, I learnt a lot about the l-e-t process and began a l-e-t of my own (Vignette 4) to get to grips with the 'how to' question. Hope to finish that by June and get formal feedback then. So it travelled a lot after your feedback. Many thanks, have a good Easter.
In reply to Stephen Bigger

Re: My EJOLTs paper on Methodology and Theorisation posted on behalf of Tony

by Marie Huxtable -

I can see the paper has been revised in line with my reflections. It is much clearer and direct now; the spelling out of your exact intent is extremely helpful.

I enjoy reading this paper and I can see it will really help contextualise methodologies for those wanting to publish in EJOLTs as well as for those wanting to publish their LET work.

Overall, I am happy this paper is now publishable in its current form.

Tony Wall