Researching educational disadvantage : using participatory research to engage marginalised students with education

Bland, Derek Clive (2006) Researching educational disadvantage : using participatory research to engage marginalised students with education. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Educational disadvantage, long recognised as a factor in determining post-school options, manifests in forms of marginalisation from and resistance to education, and in under-representation in tertiary education. Moreover, while student voice is becoming a more normalised aspect of decision making in schools, marginalised students have limited opportunities to participate in education reform processes. The practice of &quotstudents as researchers" (SaR) extends student voice through engaging students in researching the educational issues that directly affect them and inviting participation in pedagogical and school reform issues. In this research, I examine the application of an SaR model with marginalised secondary school students, and the outcomes for the participants and their schools. The Student Action Research for University Access (SARUA) project provides the site of my empirical investigation.

The research is informed by two complementary lines of theory: Habermasian critical theory, which provides the framework for participatory research, and Bourdieuian social reproduction theory, which scaffolds the aims of empowerment underlying SaR. These theories are extended by a theory of imagination to take account of difference and to establish a link to post-modern considerations. I employed a participatory action research methodology to investigate changes in the students' awareness of post-school options, their aspirations regarding tertiary study, and the development of related educational skills as a result of their participation in the project.

The principal findings from the research are that the SARUA model provides an effective medium for the empowerment of marginalised students through engagement in meaningful, real-life research; that participant schools are positioned to benefit from the students' research and interventions when school and student habitus are in accord; and that the SARUA model complements current pedagogical reforms aimed at increasing student engagement, retention, and progression to higher education.

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ID Code: 16434
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Atweh, William & Grieshaber, Susan
Keywords: critical theory, educational disadvantage, imagination, participatory action research, students-as-researchers, students at risk, student voice
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Department: Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Derek Clive Bland
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:03
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:47

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