Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



New Dir Stud Lead. 2022;2022:31–40.

DOI: 10.1002/yd.20517


© 2022 The Authors. New Directions for Student Leadership published byWiley Periodicals LLC.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License


This article discusses how the design of research should follow the questions the study seeks to address. The article provides practical and diverse examples of broad research questions applicable to researchers or program architects and summarizes how different methods should be employed to respond.

I have been teaching “Research Methods in Leadership Education” for the past five years. The goal of the course is to help orient graduate students to leadership research and assessment, and for many students, I’m introducing them to social science research and assessment broadly. The beauty and challenge of engaging in leadership research and assessment is that it is transdisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary. What this means in practice is that leadership research and assessment have fewer conventional boundaries when compared to other more established fields (e.g., psychology). Leadership is not unique in this respect, as education research and assessment – another applied field of study – exists in what, at times, feels like boundless space. This freedom is both a blessing and a curse.