An assistant principal, Judith Hehr (1992) conducted a study in her elementary school for a doctoral dissertation. As in the other stories told in this book, her study was an outgrowth of questions and experiences she had before the study was even proposed. She mostly interviewed students, teachers, and parents associated with retention of children in first grade. She also observed the students in various activities throughout the school and examined records and school work produced by the students. An article-length version of Judy’s study is presented in Appendix F: An Example Study by an Assistant Principal, along with selections from her dissertation that give more details on the gathering procedures she used. After you read her story there, please continue in the remainder of this chapter to consider an analysis of her experience in terms of information collection issues.
What can we learn from Judy’s experience about observing, interviewing, and reviewing documents? What can you use from her experience in your own setting? We will examine her study for some general lessons and for specific guidance on observing, interviewing, and reviewing documents.