Research

Here is a brief summary of my ongoing and previous research projects. See other pages for lists of publications, user/public engagement etc. Further details are available on my project-specific subpages (follow the links in the project titles below).

ARC DECRA: Creating better futures for children through effective parent education

$370,000 from Australian Research Council, DECRA 2015, Project Number DE150100365

Children born into circumstances of socioeconomic disadvantage are at risk of missing out on the developmental, educational and social opportunities that give them the best possible start in life. By helping parents in disadvantaged families to cope with adversity, parent education services can mitigate these risks, build resilience in families, and change children’s prospects for the future. This project will identify the most effective ways that parent educators can create lasting positive impacts for families. It will also find out what needs to change to make these best practices more widespread and cost effective, including learning from study of low-cost community-based services.

 

Theorising professional practice differently: partnership and expertise in practices of parent education 

This was an ethnographic study of the Residential Unit at Karitane, investigating how professionals learn as part of their everyday practice, and how by adopting a partnership-based approach to supporting families with young children, their practices take on an intensified pedagogic nature. It addresses questions of how professionals make effective use of expertise without taking over the process, and how they present challenge in an appropriate way.  A key theoretical outcome included conceiving times, spaces, bodies, and things as four essential dimensions of professional practice and learning. This work was funded as part of a UTS Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and a UTS Early Career Researcher Grant. Further details about methods, publications, methods, and impact work are available on the project-specific page.

 

Simulation in health professional education

I am leading a research project with David Boud, Donna Rooney (UTS: Arts and Social Sciences), Michelle Kelly (UTS: Health), and Madeleine Abrandt Dahlgren (University of Linkoping, Sweden). We are using focused observations of hi-tech simulations in a critical care subject for nurses, using sociomaterial perspectives to think differently about how simulation works, why it works, and how learning might be enhanced, particularly in large classes. This is funded through the UTS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Research Development Grants Scheme (2013-2014), and more recently a UTS Learning 2014 Grant, in which we are trialling new approaches to enhance learning through simulation, with a view to informing pedagogies across the Nursing curriculum.

Sustaining the Family Partnership Model in practice 

I joined a study of partnership in child and family health services across New South Wales and New Zealand, contributing to analysis and publications (Nursing Inquiry, Australian Journal of Primary Health, Journal of Clinical Nursing). In particular my focus has been to use Kemmis’ idea of practice architectures to understand a range of factors that influence how partnership practices may become firmly embedded in and spread across practices. This was funded through a UTS Partnership Grant.

Next Generation of Social Scientists (NGSS) and related projects

From 2006-2010 I worked at the Centre for Excellence in Preparing for Academic Practice (Oxford University). I was part of the team-based NGSS study, which tracked doctoral students and early career academics over time, documenting their everyday work practices, challenges, sources of support etc. I also completed a related project in collaboration with the Association of American Geographers, funded through the National Science Foundation (USA), looking at similar issues for postgraduate research students in geography, across the United States. With further funding from the Work Learn Educate centre (Institute of Education), I undertook my own study of academic work-based learning in relation to teaching, journal editing, and career mentoring.

Postgraduate research on geographical and environmental education

I received an ESRC 1+3 Studentship for my masters and doctoral research. This explored on students’ learning of geography in UK secondary schools, with a focus on environmental learning, education for sustainable development, values and controversial issues, and subject conceptions.