Because of a desire to understand committee leadership at both the indi-vidual level and in its organizational setting, the study employed a triangulated research strategy. The research consisted of three complementary elements: (1) a mailed survey of male and female committee chairs from fifty state legislatures, (2) focused peer-group interviews with women committee chairs, and (3) interviews, fieldwork, and direct observation of committee chairs in three state legislatures.
The questionnaire was mailed in March 1994 to all 353 women and a random sample of 516 men who chaired standing or statutory committees at that time. Along with questions on demographic characteristics, pre-political, career and legislative career history, the survey consisted of seventy-five Likert-scale items, designed for factor analysis or development of scales. The items covered leadership traits, motivations, committee operations, use of information, decision- making strategies, and attitudes about conflict, power, ambition, and peer relationships.
The design of the questionnaire was shaped by previous research as well as semistructured interviews with women committee chairs. These interviews were conducted in 1992 in Oklahoma and in 1992 in conjunction with the Women's Network at the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Prior to mailing, the questionnaire was administered to twelve individuals and then revised on the basis of their input. Copies of the questionnaire can be obtained from the author.