Empowering the school community for change : an evaluation of participation in the Ashgrove Healthy School Environment Project

Davis, Julie M. (1994) Empowering the school community for change : an evaluation of participation in the Ashgrove Healthy School Environment Project. Masters by Research thesis, Griffith University.

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate aspects of participation in a participatory action research project, the Ashgrove Healthy School Environment Project. Participatory action research is a form of research that creates change as an explicit part of the research process and requires the active participation of those by and for whom the research is being conducted. This study arose from concems by this researcher, who is also a co-facilitator of the project, that levels of participation were not as extensive as one might have hoped and that this seemingly low level would have a negative impact on the continuing participation of those already involved. Specifically. this evaluation sought to uncover the reasons that prompted participation, to identify structural barriers to initial involvement and to uncover participants' perceptions of the process, including barriers and opportunities. It also sought to record evidence of any shift in decision making and to draw implications about the findings that could assist the project, the school, other schools and the wider community. This evaluation involved focus group discussions and interviews with participants actively involved in the school project. The purpose was to uncover their views, feelings and perceptions about their participation and the participatory processes in use generally. It also included some examination of school documents and newsletters and as also drawn on the reflections of this 'insider' researcher, based on two years of involvement in facilitating the project. The findings that emerge from this study are heartening. Rather than feeling anxious about the long-term sustainability of the project, this researcher now feels more confident about its achievements, both in terms of the changes that have occurred in the school and about the participatory processes and levels of participation. Whilst the evaluation has identified a number of barriers, both institutional, personal and project related, it has also identified several key factors that serve to promote participation.

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ID Code: 59598
Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Refereed: No
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Griffith University
Deposited On: 06 May 2013 06:47
Last Modified: 12 May 2013 13:25

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