What Is a Gunterian Approach to Research? Helen M. Gunter’s Contributions to Critical Education Leadership

Steven J. Courtney, Ruth McGinity

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


Helen M. Gunter’s research disrupts the field of educational leadership, management and administration (ELMA); by this, we mean that her work supplies distinctive new ways of and/or tools for understanding or theorising the field that challenge existing perspectives, including functionalist ones. However, these disruptions themselves follow an intellectual tradition of critical scholarship, and she has left intellectual resources that others have taken up in their treatments of, and dispositions towards educational leadership. Our aim and distinctive contribution is to think with these aims to define what it means to adopt a Gunterian approach to research. We trace three strands to Gunter’s contributions to educational leadership and policy—which we see as mutually constitutive—and demonstrate how these contributions constitute a tradition of disruption and enable its continuation in a distinctively Gunterian manner. The three strands are Gunter’s theorising and use of theory; her typologising and mapping of the ELMA field; and her illuminating and problematising its features through the use of metaphor. We see all these as contributing towards Gunter’s overarching intellectual project concerning the investigation and problematisation of knowledge production, which, following Blackmore, she achieves through her willingness to investigate diverse areas of focus.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Education Policy and Leadership Studies
Subtitle of host publicationThe Intellectual Contributions of Helen M. Gunter
EditorsTanya Fitzgerald, Steven Courtney
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783031368011
ISBN (Print)9783031368004, 9783031368035
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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