Vignettes are hypothetical scenarios of many forms that are presented to interviewees in qualitative studies to elicit participants’ answers on diverse topics. Although there are few scholars having discussed the application of vignettes in qualitative studies, there is no article assessing the implementation of vignettes in the field of educational administration. Therefore, our article discusses the vignette technique as a data collection tool within the qualitative methodological paradigm with a focus on the aforementioned field. More specifically, in the first section we outline the design of hypothetical scenarios and their advantages and disadvantages as a data gathering tool, according to the relevant literature. The rest of the article is an account of our findings, when we used vignettes with semi-structured interviews to investigate the Greek principals’ value orientations. Findings suggested that answering to the stories was a very interesting and enjoyable process that made the principals talk without reservations. Furthermore, reflecting on their professional practice the participants were willing to share similar incidents from their experiences. One critical factor for vignettes to be effective is to be close to reality of respondents.


Vignettes, Qualitative Research, Methodology, Principals’ Values

Author Bio(s)

Pelagia A. Stravakou is an Assistant Professor in School Education (Pedagogy) at the Department of Primary Education at the Democritus University of Thrace, where she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Her research interests mostly include teachers’ training and further education, classroom management, school leadership, administration and evaluation, school effectiveness and school improvement. She is the author of several books and articles and presents at regional and national conferences. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Pelagia A. Stravakou, Department of Primary Education, Democritus University of Thrace, Nea Chili Alexandroupolis GR68100, Greece; Phone: 00302551030095; E-mail: pstravak@eled.duth.gr.

Evangelia Ch. Lozgka is currently a PhD candidate at the Department of Primary Education at the Democritus University of Thrace. She earned a master’s degree in School Education (Pedagogy and diversity in education) with a focus on school administration and leadership from the Democritus University of Thrace.


We would like to thank all the Principals who accepted to participate in this research, despite their workload. Without their help this work would have never been possible.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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