Using theory in educational leadership, management, and administration research

Pat Thomson, Amanda Heffernan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


When theory is discussed, it is most often referred to as a set of organizing ideas that both explain and guide hypotheses about, and analysis of, phenomena. However, there is no agreed definition of theory. For the purposes of this chapter, we have opted for a commonsense definition that focuses on what theory does. Theory allows us to investigate and make sense of happenings, sayings and doings, beings and becomings. Theory helps to interrogate and classify things we see, hear, feel and remember. Theory helps us to design our research projects, decide what data we want to collect and why, choose how to analyse data and how to explain phenomena to ourselves and to others.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Educational Leadership
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Perspectives and Approaches
EditorsSteven J. Courtney, Helen M. Gunter, Richard Niesche, Tina Trujillo
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781350081840, 9781350081833
ISBN (Print)9781350081819, 9781350081826
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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