Assistant Principals' Perceptions of Research-Generated Knowledge: An Examination of the Utility and Quality of Information Sources
Hobin, Charmaine M. 1972-
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Many critics dialogue about how students are being educated and whether or not current practices in educational organizations are preparing students for the 21st century. Campus leadership is an important catalyst to ensure that research-based reform initiatives are implemented with fidelity and make an impact on instruction in the classroom. However, it is not realistic to believe most practitioners, particularly school administrators, will be able to seek out research evidence in a serious manner, interpret the evidence, and use it in their day-to-day practice (Honig & Coburn, 2008; Nutley, Jung, & Walter, 2008). This study used archival data which was collected from a larger study entitled, “A Survey to Examine the Work, Attitudes, and Perceptions of Public School Assistant Principals” (MacNeil, 2006). A survey was administered to assistant principals in the Gulf Coast region of Southeast Texas that resulted in a response from 371 campus assistant principals. A cognitive interview technique was used when collecting data for the survey. The study focused on the manner in which assistant principals viewed the utility and quality of research-generated knowledge and information sources for the technical knowledge they provided. This study uncovered assistant principals’ views on what examples of research-generated knowledge were applicable to their daily roles as assistant principals. Results from the study indicated that not all assistant principals could automatically think of examples of research-generated knowledge they found useful in their jobs. However, the examples of research-generated knowledge provided by those assistant prinicpals who could automatically respond aligned well with what research shows are the current roles and responsibilities of today’s assistant principals. In addition, assistant principals gave relatively high ratings to specific information sources identified in the survey. Findings from the survey indicated that assistant principals valued professional books, workshops, and the Internet the most for the technical knowledge each of these information sources provided. Assistant principals also recognized other educational professionals as excellent sources of technical knowledge. Finally, assistant principals offered insight regarding research read over a one-year period. While rating research read over a one-year period above average, assistant principals surveyed identified multiple barriers that exist regarding research-generated knowledge as well as specific suggestions for researchers to consider when choosing, conducting, and producing research-generated knowledge for assistant principals. Overall, the research generated an informed perspective of whether or not assistant principals utilize, value, and benefit from research-generated knowledge in the field of education.