Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Patrick M. Jenlink

Second Advisor

Dr. Lois Hirst

Third Advisor

Dr. Patricia First


The purpose of this study was to prepare a comprehensive summary, evaluation, and synthesis of the dissertation research conducted from 1970 to 1994 regarding women public school superintendents.

The units of study for this research synthesis were the 79 criterion-selected doctoral dissertations completed at colleges and universities in the United States between 1 970 and 1994 that utilized women public school superintendents as their sole, or primary, data set.

Data were collected relative to both the content and the quality of the selected dissertations. Data analysis was completed using the integrative research review techniques of listing factors, taking a vote, and averaging statistics.

Findings and conclusions included the following:

1 . The mean quality score of the research was found to be in the upper range of mediocre; the median quality score was good. Primary quality weaknesses included failure to include an abstract; failure to include clarifying information such as delimitations, limitations, and definitions of terms; and failure to adequately discuss and justify the appropriateness of the data collection and data analysis methods selected.

2. As was found in other syntheses of women in administration research, these studies of women superintendents were primarily focused on describing who the women superintendents are; what they think; and what barriers stand, or have stood, in their way. Although valuable for the purposes of comparison, this focus ultimately does little to develop new, or advance current, educational administrative theory beyond the status quo.

3. Since the completion of the previous syntheses, there has been an increase in the number of qualitative research studies. This is important for two reasons: First, because previous syntheses recommended more qualitative research, the increase may be indicating that those recommendations have been heard and heeded. Second, this increase in the quantity of qualitative research may be a sign that the use of more sophisticated research strategies, such as case studies and observations, may also be forthcoming and, thus, greater potential to generate new educational administration theory may be emerging.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access