The field of educational leadership, management and administration (ELMA) uses methods drawn primarily from cognate educational disciplines. But does this matter? This paper explores the methods used in recently published papers through a snapshot of six issues of six ELMA journals. The analysis showed a preponderance of survey, interview and case study methods, with one journal, JEAH, also publishing papers using methods drawn from history, philosophy and sociology. The snapshot also revealed the methods that were rarely used – for example, ethnography, visual and on-line methods. Through a Bourdieusian lens, the paper argues that the ELMA field appears to be somewhat removed from methods developments and debates in the wider educational and social science fields. There may thus be mileage in the ELMA field considering the use of additional methods, including the ‘wilder’ ones. The field might also benefit from understanding methods as more than tools and as practices possessed of a social life.
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