Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume I, Issue 1 2012 The semi-structured interview between the researcher and the informant in which transcripts were developed and became part of the narrative record was a data collection tool used in narrative inquiry (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990). For this study, the interview questions and responses by the informants were audio taped and later transcribed. Another tool of narrative inquiry was the field notes collected through observations of informants (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Merriam, 1998). Extensive field notes were taken for each interview as we noted the nonverbal expressions of the informants as well as the researchers’ thoughts and feelings before, during, and after the interviews. All the data collected during the interview process were stored in a secure location. The data will be destroyed one year after the conclusion of the study. The internal validity of this study was assured with the audio taped interviews that captured direct quotes from the participants in the study (Merriam, 1998). Utilizing a constructivist/interpretive perspective, the validity of this study was established with several strategies including member checking, triangulation, peer review, reflexivity, and trustworthiness. Marshall and Rossman (1999) described six phases to consider during the process of analyzing data including (a) organizing the data – we read and reread the transcripts so that we could become intimately familiar with the information; (b) generating categories, themes, and patterns – we identified significant themes, recurring ideas, and patterns of belief to connect participants and their settings; (c) coding the data in order to analyze the information to put in categories and themes – we coded the data and created a chart to visually examine the data for themes; (d) testing emergent understandings – we questioned the information and data to gain a better understanding of whether it addressed the question and probed further into why it might not; (e) searching for alternative explanations – we looked for additional opportunities that could be utilized to explain the data; and (f) writing the report. This ongoing constant comparison analysis, which ―is a method of choice when the researcher wants to answer general, or overarching questions of the data‖ (Leech & Onwuegbuzie, 2007, p. 576), provided direction and the opportunity to clarify information in this study. For this study, data were gathered through individual interviews. Each narrative was shared through the lens of an African American, Hispanic, and White female superintendent respectively. An interview protocol served as the instrument for data collection and consisted of 73 open-ended questions. The interview protocol was used to guide each informant’s interview and narrative about her perception of race and gender in her professional career as a novice school district superintendent. All the interviews were audio taped and, upon completion of each informant’s interview, a transcriptionist transcribed each interview verbatim. The format for each participant’s narrative consisted of six categories: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Profile of Participant (Questions 1 – 12) Obtaining First Superintendency (Questions 13 – 26) Success as a Female Superintendent (Questions 27 – 33) Philosophy of Leadership (Questions 34 – 41) Discussion of Gender and Race (Questions 42 – 57)