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FOREWORD

Jack Culbertson

University Council for Educational Administration

In the fall of 1959, professors of school administration in UCEA universities were asked to indicate aspects of the research process which were of greatest interest to them. Although there was some variation in responses, a widespread desire to examine the relationships of concepts and theories to research activities was clearly evident. This interest suggests that professors of school administration wish to achieve stronger scientific underpinnings for school administration.

The three seminars, which were planned and presented by the University Council for Educational Administration in April, May, and August of 1961, were designed to reinforce and to heighten these aspirations of professors. The papers which follow are a product of

a these three seminars,

In focusing upon the two-way relationships of theory and research, the intent of the seminars was not to place a low value upon applied research and a high value upon basic research. In a field such as administration, invidious comparisons of this kind are inappropriate. Rather, the aim was to encourage more systematic use of concepts and theories in research on school administration.

Numerous questions need to be probed if theory development and research on school administration are to proceed fruitfully. Some of these questions relate to social and institutional factors and the papers in "Section l" seek to shed light upon some of these factors. Such forces as university leadership, sociological factors in universities, research policies and practices in colleges of education, definitions of research priorities, and research efforts and mechanisms at the national level are discussed in this section.

In "Section II" a number of authors focus directly upon selected aspects of concepts and models and their relationships to research design and theory building. A number of these papers present actual concepts and/or models and demonstrate their power and utility to produce research. Other papers focus upon such questions as the general relationship of concept development to research and some of the assumptions which underlie the use of models in research. In comparing selected aspects of two theories for studying administration, one of the papers raises some interesting questions by implication about the inter-translatability of theories.

The papers in "Section II" are designed to suggest something of the potential role of theory-oriented research in the development of knowledge about school administration, Insights about how persons can use models and concepts to develop research strategies are also offered. Finally, the various papers provide a basis for assessing not only the values but also the limitations of concepts and models in the study of school administration.

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In "Section III" consideration is given to a number of methodologioal considerations in the study of school administration. One assumption underlying the papers is that experimental design is not the only approach to obtaining knowledge about administration. Thus, survey research, case research, and other kinds of investigation are given consideration,

Since proposals are an important bridge between the planning and implementation of research, one of the papers in "Section III" focuses upon the analysis of a sample of proposals which were recently submitted to the Cooperative Research Program of the U.S. Office of Education; the paper points up some important clues as to how research in school administration might be improved. Another paper focuses upon the desirable characteristics of proposals as a complement to the paper which analyzes actual characteristics.

If research on school administration is to be significantly advanced, more than a definition of factors that currently affect research productivity is needed. A fundamental problem in this regard is the future recruitment, training, and encouragement of researchers to study school administration. The intense competition for intellectual talent which is taking place among different organizations in our society adds both to the seriousness of the problem and to the need for appropriate plans to solve it. The requirement to think creatively on this matter is clear and compelling and a number of papers are presented in "Section IV" which will be of help in pointing new directions.

In summary, then, the papers which follow represent critical thinking about some important questions related to the attainment of superior basic research on school administration. Underlying all of these papers is the assumption that if more quality research is to be achieved, a better understanding about the two-way relationships of theory building and research activities is needed.

In some circles in our culture, it is fashionable to say that we must be practical and that to pursue theory is to pursue a dead end. Such reactions concerning theory have been prevalent at least from the time of the Greek astronomer, Thales of Miletus, who, when be fell into a well while viewing the stars was criticized for being so intent on knowing what was going on in the heavens that he could not see what was at his feet. In spite of such persistent criticisms, it is very clear that some of the greatest impacts on culture have come about through the development and testing of new concepts and theories by researchers and thinkers,

Mary Parker Follette once noted that the word "profession" connotes a motive of service, on the one hand, and a foundation of science, on the other. The motive of service in the emerging profession of school administration has been firmly established. The great challenge in the years ahead will be that of providing a more scientific base for this increasingly important human enterprise.

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