Days of their lives: A mixed-methods, descriptive analysis of the men and women at work in the principal's office

James P. Spillane, Bijou R. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines the work of US school principals from the perspective of their workday using a distributed perspective to frame the investigation. Using data on 38 school principals in one mid-sized urban school district in the US, it describes school principals' work practices, examining both the focus of that work and how it is accomplished. Cluster analysis is used to analyse data from an experience sampling method (ESM) log, identifying three patterns of practice: administration-centred, solo practitioners, and people-centred. To explicate these patterns, qualitative interview and observation data were combined with quantitative survey and log data to construct mini-cases of three principals, each representing one of the three patterns of practice. The study concludes with a discussion of how this analysis both confirms and challenges popular portrayals of the school principal in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-331
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Curriculum Studies
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

Keywords

  • Instructional leadership
  • Mixed methods
  • Principals
  • School administration
  • School leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Days of their lives: A mixed-methods, descriptive analysis of the men and women at work in the principal's office'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this