Purpose ? The purpose of this paper is to highlight issues relayed to appropriate design and conduct of qualitative studies in educational leadership. Design/methodology/approach ? The paper is a conceptual/logical argument that centers around the notion that while scholars in the field have at times paid attention to such dynamics, it is important that issues special to the field are considered by all. Findings ? The major findings indicate that researchers/analysts need to determine not only the existence and accessibility of the qualitative research design and its various data collection strategies for leadership studies but also its authenticity and usefulness, taking into account the original purpose, the context in which it is produced and the intended audience. Originality/value ? Certain aspects of the paper relate to general issues of sound and generally accepted standards of research practice, but the authors also consider several issues that make educational leadership scholarship unique. The originality of the paper draws attention to certain dynamics that scholars should consider when designing and conducting qualitative research on educational leadership. In doing so, the authors not only draw on the literature but also on their own experience designing, conducting and publishing qualitative research on educational leadership.