Dear Sonia, I am glad you sent the paper for publishing in EJOLTS and this way you offered your story as a gift in your research to a wider community of researchers. I think that your experiences are very important and could be inspiring for other people who work with carers and who share your values.
In the beginning of your paper you wrote that living theory action research methodology enabled you to effectively research your authenticity as a leader and that you would like to take a methodologically innovative route. I deeply appreciate and support your intention to use methodologically inventive approach in your research. However, to be innovative does not mean nonexistence of structure or to apply existing structure in a just a bit modified way. For example to invent a new kind of vehicle means that this device is different from the known types of machines which are used for transporting persons or things. However, this a new kind of vehicle should have solid structure and it should be functional. It probably would consist of parts which have been previously used in other vehicles, but it must have/contain some distinctive features that it can be considered creative/innovative/different from the older ones. Regarding your paper it would be recommendable to explain in which way your account is organised according to living theory approach and in which way it is different and innovative.
Since you announced using living theory approach I would briefly mention the recommended structure for this approach:
Introduction to the research report
The research story:
· What was my concern?
· Why was I concerned?
· How can I show what the situation was like initially?
· What could I do? What did I do?
· How did I gather data to show ongoing developments?
· What did I find out?
· How could I show that any conclusions I came to were reasonably fair and accurate?
· How could I articulate the significance of my action research?
· How did I modify my ideas and practices in light of my evaluation?
Conclusion. (McNiff & Whitehead, 2009, p. 56)
This framework is explained in details in the mentioned book and in some other resources. In this book you can find additional suggestions how to frame your report:
- Action – a largely descriptive story of the action.
- Explanation – and explanatory layer offering explanations for the story of the action.
- Research – you show how the validity of the story was tested.
- Scholarship – you strengthen the validity of the claim through linking it with existing ideas.
- Critical reflection – you learn from the action-reflection.
- Dialectical critique – you make judgements on the quality of your action, your research, and your own thinking.
- Meta-reflection – you say how doing and writing your action research has developed your learning and contributed to the learning of others. (McNiff & Whitehead, 2009, p. 59)
I found that some of those suggestions were achieved in your paper. For example in the introductory part of your paper you pointed out that the paper is about you and you honestly introduced yourself to the reader. It was very important that you mentioned your family background which contributed to better understanding why you chose your vocation, and why it chose you. You also provided some evidences that you live your values in your practice (YouTube video).
However, some important criteria were met partially or were neglected. I would suggest saying something about your professional contexts and the problems you noticed and decided to deal with in your practice. This is connected with taking yourself as a living contradiction and it could finish with articulating your research question. It would be excellent to give insight into initial situation and how you monitored changes you would like to obtain. I consider it is very important to present your actions and learning along with other participants did, thought, and learned in your research. Critical reflection is fundamentally significant for the quality of an action research. Therefore, it is very important to show how you and other participants worked to improve your practice which has to be tightly interlinked with reflections which were recorded in your research diary, videotapes and other data.
To conclude, I would recommend following the structure and criteria of living theory research on which you decided to based your account on. It is particularly important to give us more details (data) and perspectives (different voices) about process of improvements you obtained in your professional situation that were in accordance with your values. Actually, it was your aim too: “How my authenticity as a leader improves my practice and improves the culture of the organisation I lead which improves the support the organisation provides for carers?” I hope that after improvement your paper will be inspirational story about you as an authenticity leader lives educational values in practice and life.
McNiff, J. & Whitehead, J. (2009). Doing and writing action research. Los Angeles; London; New Delhi; Singapore; Washington DC: SAGE.