Interview with Prof. Dr. Brigitte Smit, an Expert in Educational Leadership and Qualitative Research Methodology

May 23, 2019

Brigitte Smit (PhD, MEd Cum Laude, BEd(HONS), BA(Ed), University of Pretoria) is a National Research Foundation Rated Researcher, a Senior Accredited Professional Trainer of ATLAS.ti, a Member Scholar of the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology, University of Alberta, Canada, and a Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Management, at the University of South Africa (UNISA). She is also a Certified ATLAS.ti Professional Senior Trainer, and it is our pleasure to present our interview with Dr. Smit about her current research projects.


Hi Dr. Brigitte Smit, thank you for sharing with the ATLAS.ti community! Please tell our readers about yourself.

My research focuses mainly on qualitative research methodology, female leadership and relational ethics. I serve on nine national and international editorials boards and have published in national and international journals, including Qualitative Inquiry, Studies in Higher Education, and the Australian Educational Researcher. In 2007, 2014, and 2017 I was invited as visiting scholar at the University of Alberta, in Canada. I am a recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Reviewer Award: American Educational Research Journal: Social and Institutional Analysis. In 2015, I received the Research Medal of Honour, from the Education Association of South Africa, and the Leadership in Research Women’s Award, from UNISA. I serve as a Co-Editor of the International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, together with the Editor-in-Chief, Prof Dr Tony Onwuegbuzie and as Editor (Africa) for the International Journal of Qualitative Methods, along with the Editor-in-Chief, Prof Linda Liebenberg.


What is your current area of research and work?

My research area is in Educational Leadership and Qualitative Research Methodology, and I focus mainly on female leadership, relational leadership and relational ethics.

I am currently working at the University of South Africa. As of 2020, I will work as an Independent Academic, offering research support workshops in the SADC region, ATLAS.ti workshops and qualitative data analysis support for faculty staff and postgraduate students. I also work in an Open and Distant Learning Institution, which means I seldom meet my postgraduate students. Research projects are usually with colleagues.


What kind of qualitative data do you typically analyse?

I work mostly with text data and use ATLAS.ti mostly for analysing the literature systematically. I also supervise many students who analyse empirical data, mostly interviews, observation field texts and focus group data.


What kind of research project are you currently working on?

My current research addresses countering bullying in schools through relational and responsible leadership. To this end, I work with children, teachers and school principals. I am also involved in an international research project, the International Community Development and Resilience Consortium: I analyse both theoretical and empirical text data, including visual data.

How do you tend to use ATLAS.ti?

I use ATLAS.ti for literature searches, literature reviews and writing up literature studies.  Regarding my favorite features, I use most features of the programme and actually enjoy them all.  I started using ATLAS.ti in the late nineties, just after the DOS release and simply kept on using it.


Do you have any tips or suggestions about using ATLAS.ti for our readers?

When I teach ATLAS.ti, I always include a day of teaching qualitative data analysis (QDA) and then appropriate that knowledge to the software. A sound grounding of QDA facilitates a better grasp of the software as it makes conceptually better sense.


Thank you, Dr. Brigitte Smit!

You can contact Dr. Brigitte Smit by calling +27(0)82 411 8847 and by writing to [email protected]


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