Advice for Authors

It is never pleasant to have a paper 'rejected' so authors are strongly advised to first check that their paper is suitable for EJOLTs. (Here is a list of some other practitioner research journals to explore) Living Educational Theory research is a form of educational practitioner self-study research distinguished by the practitioner researcher's valid explanations of their educational influence in their own learning, the learning of others and the learning of the social formations within which they practice. A practitioner researcher engages in Living Educational Theory research to research their practice to understand and improve it and in the process clarify their embodied living ontological and social values that form their explanatory principles of their explanations of educational influence in learning and the standards by which they evaluate improvements in the educational influence of their practice. For the most up-to-date text on Living Educational Theory research authors are strongly advised to read, Whitehead, J. (2019) Creating a living-educational-theory from questions of the kind, ‘how do I improve my practice?’ 30 years on with Living Theory research. EJOLTs 12(2), 1-19 watch his TedX talk on Living Theory research and visit the 'advice for authors' page.


We encourage the submission of multimedia accounts which include text, still images, audio and video files that help to communicate the meanings of your energy-flowing values and practice. Where appropriate and possible, you are encouraged to integrate URLs linked to the papers, videos etc. that you have referenced.


We recognise that different workplaces and geographical locations have access to different levels of ICT provision; consequently, we will not penalise contributors who are not able to make use of hi-tech resources. We simply wish to emphasise here our openness to the multiple forms of representation that are acceptable as descriptions and explanations of practice.


We expect your paper to include a clearly written description and explanation in English of the context(s), purposes, processes and outcomes of your enquiry. Our intention is not solely to publish papers: it is to publish papers that are read. Therefore, although EJOLTS will occasionally publish accounts of Living Theory research (Whitehead, 1989) that are up to 18,000 words in extent, they are normally 6,000−12,000 words long.

This range is usually sufficient to provide a structure and discipline for Living Theory researchers to express their creativity and originality, while producing reader-friendly articles. Creating a shorter, leaner, audience-friendly account is one of the disciplines of being a writer and researcher. A longer article is not necessarily a clearer one − in fact, it could be less so: less audience-friendly to read, less reviewer-practical for us to review in detail, and less carefully edited by the author.

We do not wish authors to feel unnecessarily constrained: however, from experience, we have come to know that the longer the articles the less the readers engage with them. With these points in mind, we strongly encourage authors to keep within a written extent of 6,000–12,000 words (including references and appendices) and, when necessary, to work with reviewers to explore where they can edit the word count downwards without changing the essence of their paper.

Second, authors are also strongly urged to use the the pre-submission checklist and ensure that their paper meets all the submission guidelines.

A few points to bear in mind that may help your paper to be found by potential readers and to be read:

  • Why are you writing your paper and for whom?
  • Keep your audience in sharp focus - what is the main point you would like your reader to take away with them?
  • Keep in mind you are writing a paper, not a thesis or a book of your life's work, so keep it focussed. The shorter the paper the more likely it is to be read.
  • Does your title communicate the essence of your paper? A short meaningful yet eye catching title is better than one that goes on and on and... (6 words are much better than 16)
  • Choose your key words carefully - they are what help your paper to be found in a search on google etc. Think of who might be looking for your work and what search words they might use.
  • Keep in mind that your abstract is what attracts someone to want to read your paper. Your abstract is 230 word absolute maximum - less is often best.
  • If you include images and video in your paper make sure they help to communicate something important and are referred to in the text.
  • If you include video say what your reader is to get from watching which part of it. Do not expect someone to watch for more than a moment. You can advise them with a reference in the text should you believe that they might find the whole thing of interest and make sure you add the reference to the full video in the reference section.
  • Keep your language as straightforward and simple as possible - don't make my mistake and have sentences that go on and on and...

Last, but not least, creating an account and testing its rigor and validity is an important part of Living Educational Theory research. It is not a simple, quick process. First, write for yourself to enable you to learn from researching your practice and generating a values-based explanation of your educational influence in your own learning, the learning of others and the learning of social formations you live and work in. These are just a few questions to get you going.

  • What is the practice you have been researching?
  • What improvement in the educational influence in the learning of the social formation and those who comprise it have you been working to have?
  • Have you been doing what you thought you were doing?
  • What is the consequence of your attempts to improve your practice?
  • What are the unintended consequences of your efforts?
  • What learning has occurred and by whom?
  • What evidence do you have to support your claim to have had an educational influence in any learning?
  • What values have emerged and have been clarified as you have researched your practice to understand and improve it?
  • Do they explain your educational influence in learning?
  • What evidence do you have to support your claims?

When you are clear about the educational knowledge you have generated think of your audience and write to communicate what you have learned that might be of use and interest to them. Keep in mind that the point of creating a publishable paper is not just to improve your learning and what you are doing, it is to communicate a valid explanation of your educational influence in your own learning, the learning of others and the learning of the social formation within which you live and work (your living-educational-theory) and contribute to a global educational practitioner knowledgebase with explanations of educational influence in learning distinguished by values that carry hope for the flourishing of humanity.

Need help, resources and references? Have a look at the Living Educational Theory Wiki. The purpose of the Living Theory Wiki is to offer an alternative channel into the understanding of Living Theory research, taking advantage of the hyperlinked relationship between ideas. Further resources, references are available from Jack Whitehead's website, and Living Educational Theory research: An evolving treasure chest. There are also two Facebook groups you can join for support and information: a Living Educational Theory research Facebook group and an EJOLTs Facebook group. Below you will find a list of some practitioner research publications. They provide a good source of references that might be relevant for you to creatively and critically engage with to improve your research and which you might want to consider publishing an account of your Living Educational Theory research in.

Can't find what you need to help you progress your EJOLTs paper? Contact the EJOLTs editor ([email protected]) and we will do what we can to help.


PDF icon Practitioner research journals66.87 KB