Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1997


The purposes of this study were to determine the factors that influence the use of e-mail by principals, the purposes for which e-mail messages were sent and received, and the impact of experience and training in the areas of computers and e-mail. A survey was sent to a stratified random sample of 620 elementary, middle/junior high, and high school principals of the Central Appalachian Region. Respondents were asked to provide data regarding demographics, accessibility to hardware and software, computer and e-mail experience and training, uses of e-mail, and items that influence e-mail use. Eleven research questions and 10 hypotheses were addressed. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, chi-square, ANOVA, multiple regression, and factor analysis. At the.05 level of significance eight null hypotheses were retained and two rejected. Factor analysis identified four factors for e-mail users and five factors for non-users. E-mail was used by 59.7% of respondents. There was no relationship between level of use and gender, age, highest degree earned, or total years of educational experience. The predictors of e-mail use were computer experience, accessibility to resources, and training. Keyboarding skills and use of e-mail by superiors, fellow principals, and teachers were not indicators of e-mail use. Principals primarily use e-mail for administrative tasks and secondarily for accessing and retrieving information. Training is essential to the effective implementation and use of e-mail. There were six primary training methods for computers and e-mail. Factor analysis revealed that e-mail users have hardware and software resources, training, support, and encouragement to use e-mail to obtain educationally beneficial and appropriate information. Non-users were not comfortable with the technology. Principals must be cognizant of e-mail's capabilities and potential ramifications upon the educational community and provide the role model for the use of technology. E-mail has the potential to break down barriers of geographical isolation and instill a sense of community. If future educational leaders are to be prepared to meet the challenges of an information age, colleges of education need to provide instruction in the use of computers and e-mail.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted