A Phenomenological Investigation of Knowing Events Among Women Headteachers of Government Schools
Khuan, Wai Bing (2005) A Phenomenological Investigation of Knowing Events Among Women Headteachers of Government Schools. PhD thesis, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
The main purpose of this study was to understand the nature of knowing for women headteachers in leadership and decision-making. The study was carried out through three research questions. They include: (1) what are the characteristics of knowing events for women headteachers as experienced by them? (2) what are the influences that shape women headteachers' knowing? (3) what are the specific ways of knowing that women headteachers engage in? These questions aimed to determine the characteristics, factors that influence, and structure of the knowing phenomenon among women headteachers in leadership and decision-making. The phenomenological approach was selected since it was deemed the most appropriate for the study of a phenomenon of this nature. Data were gathered from nine women headteachers in primary and secondary government schools. The participants were selected from excellent and successful women headteachers through purposeful sampling. The data collection methods employed were mainly in-depth interviews with the participants. Each interview was taped recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed. In addition, informal observation and review of accessible official documents were also carried out. The validity of the study was ensured through clarifying the researcher's biases at the outset of the study, triangulation, member checks, peer examination and rich, thick description of results. The reliability was furthered ensured through stating the researcher's position, triangulation and maintaining an audit trail. The findings yielded characteristics of knowing events as experienced by the women headteachers, influences that shape their knowing, ways of knowing women headteachers engaged in. The knowing events represent the phases that every woman headteacher in the study had passed through from accession or entry into headship to refocusing of values in the securely established state. The influences that shape knowing began in the formation years and occur throughout headship. In addition it also represents the development of knowing from a dependency on authorities to autonomy of self, knowledge as abstract and objective to being relative and subjective, and the cognitive process of receiving knowledge to one of generating knowledge. The study concludes that the knowing practiced among the women headteachers in leadership and decision making is unique to the participants of this study. The findings are conceptualized into a thematic portrayal of knowing. Specific recommendations for further research are also suggested.
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