Research Courses in Educational Leadership Programs: Relevance in an Era of Accountability

Rebecca M. Bustamante, Julie P. Combs


This study examined master’s degree level research course offerings of 72 university educational leadership programs to examine the relevance of course content to the research skills required of practicing school leaders. Researchers analyzed course titles and descriptions using a classic content analysis approach and the method of constant comparison. The number of research courses required by each program was analyzed descriptively. Findings revealed considerable variation in research course requirements, course titles, and course descriptions between university programs, suggesting a potential lack of consensus on the importance of research skills to school leadership as well as on how these skills typically are identified and described. Analysis of course descriptions indicated minimal emphasis on inquiry skills focused on actual school improvement and program evaluation. This research points to the need for further studies on research course offerings and the inquiry skills needed by practicing school leaders.


Educational Leadership Preparation; Principal Preparation and Research Skills; Research Utilization

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Copyright (c) 2015 Rebecca M. Bustamante, Julie P. Combs

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