Three propositions for my potential case study are:
- Educational leaders are often constrained in their efforts to redesign educational systems by a normative “grammar of schooling” (Tyack & Cuban, 1995). The rationale and defense for this proposition comes from the reconnaissance work I have done in discussing challenges with educational leaders.
- The challenges of the future will require significant redesign of our current systems. The rationale and defense for this proposition comes out of the discussion on the limitations of our current educational efficacy and outcomes (Mehta & Fine, 2019).
- Design thinking and imagination tools offer possibility for redesign of educational systems. The rationale and defense for this proposition comes from the research on design thinking and educational leadership (Gallagher & Thordarson, 2018).
I will use theory to inform both the paradigmatic approach to my research design and methodology, as well as to inform and influence my innovation. For example, I have aligned my research design with my pragmatist paradigm and worldview, and drawn the connections between that worldview and the theoretical perspectives guiding the research in my Chapter 2 proposal.
Furthermore, I am using theory to establish the framework of my proposed innovation. I want to propose a framework that I am calling Learning Futures Leadership, which emerges from theory derived from design thinking, imagination, and transformative leadership theory. Overall, I’d make the case that the theory in my research is essential to guiding the process of my action research case study.
The choice of an action research dissertation employing a case study methodology is philosophically aligned with my overarching worldview and my research questions. As action research aims to support a researcher to both take action and create knowledge or theory about that action as it unfolds (Coghlan & Brannick, 2014), it finds a complementary method in the pragmatic, designerly inquiry methodology of this case study.
With respect to case studies, Yin (2018; 2006) has argued that case study research designs do not simply arise from a blank slate. Rather, researchers generate research designs with implicit theoretical orientations about what is happening in the field, as well as toward deciding subjects to study. In this particular case, aspiring school leaders in a masters of education cohort comprise a logical bounded case to study, given both the researcher’s professional positionality and access to the cohort. Thus, the cohort represents a sound unit of analysis in which to explore and understand how a futures-oriented innovation might resonate with aspiring school leaders.