A systematic review of educational leadership and management research in Turkey: Content analysis of topics, conceptual models, and methods

Mehmet Şükrü BELLIBAŞ, Sedat GUMUS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: While the current knowledge in the field of educational leadership and management (EDLM) has been primarily based on research produced in English-speaking Western societies, there have been significant efforts by other societies to contribute to the knowledge production, especially during the past decade. The purpose of this paper is to identify the contribution of Turkey to the international EDLM literature by investigating the topical focus, conceptual frameworks and research designs of papers published by EDLM scholars from Turkey. 

Design/methodology/approach: Descriptive content analysis method was employed to examine 315 empirical, review, conceptual and commentary papers published by Turkish scholars in core educational administration and Web of Science journals. The time period of the review left open-ended. However, in practical terms, it begins in the year 1994 when the first article from Turkey was published in any of the selected sources and ends at the end of 2018. Information relevant to the research was extracted from each article and was coded to facilitate quantitative analysis. Using Excel software, descriptive statistics including frequencies and percentages were provided for each research question. 

Findings: Results show that Turkish EDLM scholars mostly rely on survey based quantitative research approach, employing advanced statistical techniques in the analysis of the data. However, mixed method and qualitative studies are relatively less common. Organizational behavior, school leadership and emotions stand out as most frequently used topics, while Turkish scholars are not interested in analyzing the educational outcomes such as student achievement and school improvement. Consistent with the findings related to topical foci, a large number of those who were interested in correlational studies examined the relationship between leadership roles and organizational behaviors. 

Research limitations/implications: The data set only included journal articles and excluded conference proceedings, books and theses/dissertations. Nevertheless, the authors believe this review adds significantly to previous reviews of local EDLM journals conducted by Turkish scholars. The authors concluded that the Turkish scholars should direct their future research to exploring and better understanding the practices of Turkish principals in schools by: diversifying their research topics; incorporating more qualitative and mixed-method designs; and taking into account specific features of the culture and educational system in Turkey. 

Practical implications: Based on the current higher education context, reducing scholars’ teaching load, diversifying research funding opportunities, and modifying access to tenure tracks seem necessary interventions to support EDLM research with strong ties to practice and to the sociocultural context. In addition, policy changes aiming professionalization of administrative positions and establishing some forms of formal training for school principalship are needed. Such changes can help transfer the knowledge produced by the Turkish EDLM researchers to the practice and provide solutions to problems related to school administration. 

Originality/value: This paper will add to recent effort to identify how a developing nation outside Western perspective approaches the field, and contributes to the global knowledge base. Copyright © 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-747
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number6
Early online dateAug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


Bellibaş, M. Ş., & Gümüş, S. (2019). A systematic review of educational leadership and management research in Turkey: Content analysis of topics, conceptual models, and methods. Journal of Educational Administration, 57(6), 731-747. doi: 10.1108/JEA-01-2019-0004


  • Turkey
  • Educational administration
  • Educational leadership
  • Organizational behaviour
  • Systematic review
  • Research design


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