Effective Methodology

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    Hello Fellow Scholars, 

    I have been working on a proposal for my Doctorate of Education (Ed.D) for some time now, but I have many questions regarding my methodology. I am attempting to survey teachers regarding their perceptions of their principal’s instructional leadership competencies. I also want take a sample of what perceptions principals have of their own instructional leadership capabilities. I want to frame this in a quantitative methodology or a mix-methods methodology

    My issue is related to the question of how do I employ a quantitative methodology and compare the perceptions of the teachers and the principals or would a mix-methods methodology work best?


    Jeremy Miles

    I think either approach would give potentially interesting results.  Which is better depends on your precise research question and goals.  Do you think that instructional leadership is sufficiently well defined?  If so, then quantitative is best.  If not, you need to spend time deciding what it is, and how principals and teachers perceive it, in which case something more qualitative might be better.

    You should try to build on prior literature and research.  What have others done, what questions remain unanswered?


    Corina Schmelkes

    Sorry, I think the best method for your research is qualitative.  I cannot imagine perception being organized so that it can be quantitative.  Definitely not mixed.  Why not use qulitative.  Excelent project!  It would not be so excelent if you go quantitative.




    There are 2 groups , teachers and principals. A mixed method or a quantitative and /or a qualitative method could work. Depends: for the survey use a questionnaire for biographical data etc or a validated questionniare or a self -developed questionnaire from literature, this will be the quantitative aspect. The qualitative aspect assessing the perceptions of both groups could be done as indept inteviews or focus groups.Thanks.Hope this helps.


    Divya Sharma

    The effective methodology will depend on the type of tool you are preparing. If you are going for an inventory or an opinionnair you will have to use chi square or percentages. You can go for ANOVA or interaction also.
    If you are making a questionnair then you can go for t test. You can prepare null hypothesis like
    There shall be no significant difference in the mean scores of the perception of teachers about their principals and in the perception of principlas about their own self. Divya Sharma

    Christoph Wagner

    This has to be a qualitative approach applied in your project, there’s no other way you can do that quantitatively.

    Nino Rode

    Helo Charly.


    Let’s get some other rhings straigted first: to get a good anwer to your question I would like to know:

    1. do you have some particular “instructional leadership competencies” in mind (out of some theory, experience, paper…)

    2. are you positive that the teachers think about them in the same terms as you are

    3. how many principals will you be able to get.


    ad 1: If you have a predefined list of the competencies quantitative approach to finding out what teachers think about it is quite a good choice. Present them with the list and instuct them to rate their principal in terms of having/not having each competency (let’s say on 1 to 5 or 1 to 7 scale). If you don’t you should elicit the important competencies from the teachers (or at least the principals), so you should begin with (qualitative) interviews or at least try to construct a repertory grid (look it up – quite a nice crossover of qualitative interviewing and quantitative analysis) on the competencies. You can then construct a questionaire based on your findings (leading you to qualitative => QUANTITATIVE mixed design).


    ad 2: if you do have a list of competencies, you have to be certain that the teachers and you “speak the same language.” If they talk about the competencies in the same way, there is no problem, but if they talk about it differently, you will get “house numbers” instead of the meaningfull data. To avoid that you should pilot test your questionaire, she simplest way to do it is to find some teachers to fill it in “at loud,” explaining what each question means for them and why did they chose the particular question. However all that is useles if the teachers don’t talk (don’t think) about the principals’ “instructional leadership competencies” at all. In this case even the pilot testing explained above will not improve on the data, since every respondent would make the anwers up as s/he goes along through the questionaire. In this case full qualitative study is the only thing to do.


    ad3: Provided that you have enough (I would recommend at least 20) principals, you can go full quantitative. In his case one of the things to keep in mind is to mark for each tacher which principal s/he is rating. Then you can a) agregate the techers’ ratings for each principal and perform a quantitative analysis on the principals (teachers’ ratings would be a variable connected to the principal); b) perform an analyisis on the teachers grouped by the principals. Either way the analysis should be straightforward (maybe multuidimensional scaling or discriminant analysis, you choose). If the number of principals is small, I think you would be better off doing analysis of the teachers’ answers and then perform interviews with the principals about the results (quantitative => QUALITATIVE mixed study).


    There may be many other points to discuss ijn your design, but I hope this will get you going.


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