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Practice Traditions of Researching Educational Leadership Across National Contexts

Chapter in book
Authors Jane Wilkinson
Karin Rönnerman
Petri Salo
Laurette Bristol
Published in Educational Leadership as a Culturally-Constructed Practice New Directions and Possibilities
Pages 152 -170
ISBN 9781138915312
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Singapore
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Pages 152 -170
Language en
Subject categories Pedagogical Work


In this chapter we challenge the homogenising and largely taken-for-granted assumptions, which underpin methods adopted by much of the educational leadership research field when analysing leadership practices within and across differing national contexts. Specifically, we examine participatory methodologies on/for leadership practices and how these methodologies draw on particular traditions within differing national and site-specific contexts. Drawing on practice architectures as our shared theoretical lens (c.f., Kemmis & Grootenboer, 2008), we provide examples of the varying methodologies we employed as researchers to analyse educational leadership practices in our study sites of Sweden (preschools), Finland (principals’ study circles) and Australia (rural secondary school). Our research in each of the sites is informed by differing historical, political and cultural traditions and settings, as well as by varied subject locations and epistemological stances as researchers (i.e., action researchers, feminist, postcolonialism). We aim to render visible the practice traditions of our respective settings, as well as our theoretical stance as researchers, arguing that attention to traditions and epistemological stances is critical if we are to transform, rather than reproduce knowledges about educational leading as a practice. In so doing we stress the fluid and contested nature of these practice traditions, rather than assuming them to be ‘fixed’ and stable within an imagined unitary national context. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the implications and significance of explicating differing methodologies and researcher stances for educational leadership scholarship.

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