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