Main Article Content
This paper presents policy document analysis as practical tool that can be put to valuable use by educational leaders and can also be adopted as a research method. Educational leaders are at the forefront of policy interpretation and consequently need knowledge and skills that enable them to analyse policy as part of their work in developing, implementing and reviewing organisational policy. They need to be able to look behind the policy to know what forces brought it into being; to tap into policy history to know how it was constructed; and most importantly, evaluate the way it is working to achieve its stated purposes. The analysis of policy documents is also an established and appealing qualitative research method, especially for students engaged in postgraduate research associated with educational leadership and policy studies because policy documents offer background insights into understanding educational problems in both research and practice. In this paper advantages and disadvantages associated with using documentary analysis as a qualitative research method are outlined and practical document analysis tools and approaches are presented.