Research Projects

Here is a list of our current research projects.  Click on any item on the list to go to a summary of the project.  Click on this link to go to a list of our Completed Projects.

Current Research Projects

Click on the title to go to a summary of the project

 


 

Action research project at the Wendouree West Learning Hub

Project Summary

This project explores the conditions that need to be brought into existence in a context of a recently complete externally-driven area-based intervention (Neighbourhood Renewal)—within a community that has historically been put at a disadvantage—that makes a locally-owned process of community renewal sustainable.

This research involves a community-centred action research and community engagement process that invokes: community listening, partner forums, school/community governance forums, and organic community engagement. It employs a staged action research approach of: (1) Listen/Talk; (2) Collect/Research; (3) Reflect/Refine; (4) Interrupt/Suggest; and (5) Act/Celebrate

Personnel

  • Professor John Smyth (CI)
  • Professor Lawrie Angus
  • Dr Peter McInerney
  • Mr Tim Harrison
  • Ms S Smyth

Project Funding

  • Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
  • Victorian Department of Human Services $78,331

Project Commencement Date

  • 24 July 2009

Project Completion Date

  • August 2010 (likely to be extended to 2011)

Scholarly output

Books, chapters, reports, journal articles, conference presentations etc.

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Understanding a community-based health and wellbeing program

Project Summary

This research project seeks to understand the factors contributing to the effectiveness of the Healthy Active Delacombe program which is part of the Delacombe Neighbourhood Renewal, its impacts on the community and its value as a vehicle for promotion of health and wellbeing activity. The method proposed for this research project is qualitative social research based on critical ethnography. This research approach will yield a deep understanding of what is occurring in the Healthy Active Delacombe project based on access to a rich layer of in-depth data. Participatory research methods will be used that will engender a direct engagement of residents within the research process.

The research will be conducted as a series of semi-structured conversations with members of identified stakeholder groups towards the beginning, mid-point and conclusion of the Healthy Active Delacombe project.

Personnel

  • Professor John Smyth
  • Dr Peter McInerney
  • Mr Tim Harrison
  • Ms S Smyth

Project Funding

Federal government Healthy Active Australia $13,167

Project Commencement Date

  • August 2009

Project Completion Date

  • June 2010

Scholarly output

Books, chapters, reports, journal articles, conference presentations etc.

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The experience of the cancer journey for patients and their carers: Supporting consumer engagement in services within the Grampians region

Project Summary

This project will aim to help meet government best-practice policies in terms of including consumers (i.e. individuals with cancer living in the Grampians region, or those who have recovered from cancer) and their carers and families in service development and evaluation. Part One of the study will comprise a number of focus groups to be held within the Grampians region where individuals from various communities will have opportunity to comment on current services. Part Two will comprise a series of semi-structured interviews from individuals with cancer, or who have recovered from cancer, living in the Grampians region. The key objectives of the study are to understand the experiences of consumers in the Grampians region and also to conduct an analysis on how services within the Grampians region could better meet consumers’ and carers needs. Together the two parts of the study aim to identify, from various perspectives, the services to which consumers are typically referred, which services are accessed, what needs, if any, go unmet, and how services may be adapted to better meet the needs of consumers and their carers.

Personnel

  • Anthony W Love
  • Laura Maher Liversage

Project Funding

  • The project is funded by a consultancy from the Grampians Integrated Cancer Services of $40,000.00

Project Commencement Date

  • 1st December 2009

Project Completion Date

  • 30th September 2010

Scholarly output

Books, chapters, reports, journal articles, conference presentations etc. All are aims of the project but to date there are no outputs. 

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Identifying family, community and institutional impediments to caring for young people with diabetes in Ballarat

Project Summary

This project aims to understand the barriers to optimal health outcomes for young people with diabetes living in the Ballarat region. Anecdotal evidence suggests that families who are ‘disadvantaged’ (single parent families, families with low, or lower levels of education) are more likely to have poorer outcomes with diabetes management. Using interview methods, parents of children and adolescents living in Ballarat will be invited to share their experiences of caring for a child with diabetes. Interviews will explore aspects of service support systems that work well, those things that impede the care of their child, and areas families feel are neglected in their care. Findings will support the redesign of services to more appropriately meet family needs.

Personnel

  • Prof Sally Wellard
  • Ms Linda Govan (BHS)
  • Ms Nola Poulter (BHS)

Project Funding

  • Consultancy with HARP program at BHS, $5000

Project Commencement Date

  • December 2009

Project Completion Date

  • September 2010

Scholarly output

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The Impact of the Introduction of Electronic Gaming Machines on Communities: Health and Wellbeing Consequences

Project Summary

The aim of this project is to determine the health and wellbeing impacts of the installation of electronic gaming machines (EGMs) in local communities. EGM numbers in Victoria are capped at a local government level, yet the research data we have available about problem gambling is collected at individual and state/national levels. Little is understood about the public health consequences of introducing EGMs in a given geographical catchment area. This empirical study will use community-level analysis and employ a strong research design to generate new knowledge about the health and wellbeing consequences of EGMs. This will inform decisions by government and regulatory authorities about the trade-off between the costs/benefits and the number of EGMs in a catchment area. The findings will also guide interventions to mitigate the effects of problem gambling in communities.

Personnel

  • Associate Professor John McDonald
  • Dr Helen Aucote (Australian Catholic University)
  • Dr Andrew Cooper (Goldsmiths, University of London)
  • Deborah Greenslade (PhD candidate)

Project Funding

  • Australian Research Council $150,000
  • Victorian Local Governance Association $37,000

Project Commencement Date

  • 2009

Project Completion Date

  • 2011

Scholarly output

  • None finalised yet.
  • Annotated bibliography is nearing completion.
  • One paper under review (Gambling liberalisation and the complicit state: repositioning communities as agents of political struggle).
  • Another paper currently being prepared.

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Nurse led mobility clinics for elderly in low-care facilities at Ballarat Health Services.

Project Summary

This project aims to determine the feasibility of applying a German model of nurse-led mobility clinics to support the mobility of elders living in low care residential settings. This first project assesses the transferability of assessment tools from the German model to the Australian context and explores elder peoples’ perspectives on what mobility means.

Personnel

  • Prof Sally Wellard
  • Dr Suzanne Blume
  • Prof Martina Hasseler
  • Lisa Clinnick.

Project Funding

  • Helen McPherson Smith trust $35,036

Project Commencement Date

  • September 2009

Project Completion Date

  • April 2010

Scholarly output

  • Nil to date

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Exploring the quality of diabetes care in Barwon and Ballarat public residential care.

Project Summary

This project aims to identify the staffing and organisational factors that influence the quality of diabetes care for older people living in residential care settings managed by Barwon and Ballarat Health services. Using triangulation of methods data will be collected using survey, interview and case file audit. The outcomes of this research will provide direction for interventions to build the capacity and capability of residential aged care services to support high quality diabetes care and meet aged care service standards.

Personnel

  • Prof Sally Wellard (UB)
  • Dr Bodil Rasmussen
  • Dr Sally Savage
  • Prof Trisha Dunning (Deakin).

Project Funding

  • Deakin UB collaboration fund - $25,000

Project Commencement Date

  • January 2009

Project Completion Date

  • April 2010

Scholarly output

  • Nil to date 

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Developing a dementia garden for residents with dementia at residential care facilities at BHS.

Project Summary

This project aims to develop a design for a dementia garden based on life-experiences of residents with dementia at BHS. The project uses narrative from residents as well as interviews with family and staff to develop a design for a garden that will provide increased opportunity for residents with dementia to engage in outdoor activity in a safe and stimulating environment.

Personnel

  • Prof Sally Wellard
  • Dr Phil Warelow

Project Funding

  • DHS (through health service) $28,000

Project Commencement Date

  • April 2009

Project Completion Date

  • April 2010

Scholarly output

  • Nil to date 

   

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Community Writing Project

Project Summary

The focus of this project will be on using writing (of various types) to unravel, represent and critically consider local life experiences. The intention is to bring together a group of interested and diverse people from the local community to write in what Pratt refers to as a ‘contact zone’ (Pratt, 1991). Contact zones are “social spaces where disparate cultures meet, clash and grapple with each other” (Pratt, 1991); they are spaces that can foster a range of interesting and authentic autoethnographic, narrative and experimental approaches to writing that seek to examine social interactions, notions of identity and power relationships (Fine, 2008). This project will be participatory research involving a broad range of people from different parts of the community, including those who have never seen themselves as writers/researchers.

  • Fine, M. (2008). Revolutionizing education. New York: Routledge
  • Pratt, M. L. (1991). Arts of the contact zone. Profession 91, p. 33-40.
  • Fine, M. (2008). Revolutionizing education. New York: Routledge

Personnel

  • Amanda McGraw

Project Funding

  •  Nil to date

Project Commencement Date

  • April, 2010

Project Completion Date

  • April, 2011

Scholarly output

  • Conference presentations, journal articles

 

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Triple G: Girls Get Going

Project Summary

Physical inactivity is a major disease risk factor for girls living in rural and regional Australia and it increases dramatically after 12 years of age. Many school and community-based physical activity programs designed to increase the physical activity levels of girls have met with little success due to inadequate links between the two settings. The aim of this research is to determine the impact of a school-community links intervention on the physical activity level and mental and physical wellbeing of adolescent girls living in regional and rural settings. This will be achieved by working with the girls to find ways to improve their involvement in sport and active recreation. This information will be used to develop, implement and evaluate a year long sport and active recreation program that is offered in both schools and the community. The research will occur in Victoria and will involve girls in years 7-9 of secondary school. It will involve the sports of tennis and football (soccer) as well as the active recreation opportunities offered by the YMCA. The expected outcome of this research is to gain a better understanding of how to improve the physical activity levels and wellbeing of girls.

Personnel

  • Prof Warren Payne
  • Prof John Smyth
  • Assoc Prof Amanda Telford
  • Meghan Casey
  • Amanda Mooney
  • Dr Jack Harvey
  • Dr Rochelle Eime
  • Solveiga Smyth

Project Funding

  • Australian Research Council $290,000
  • VicHealth $75,000
  • Department of Planning and Community Development – Sport and Recreation Victoria $25,000
  • Tennis Australia $40,000
  • Helen Macpherson Smith Trust $31,600

Project Commencement Date

  • July 2009

Project Completion Date

  • June 2012

Scholarly output

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Healthy Men in Active Neighbourhoods

Project Summary

Healthy Men in Active Neighbourhoods (HeMAN) is a collaborative research project being run by Deakin University and the Federation University Australia (FedUni). The study aimed to identify the factors affecting participation in physical activity among men from low socio-economic communities. This research is significant as it seeks to understand why strategies to improve the physical activity levels of Australians have had relatively little impact upon males from low socio-economic communities and appear to have actually served to widen the physical activity gap between males with the highest and lowest socio-economic status (SES). To date, a total of 29 interviews have been held with men from low socio-economic communities in regional Victoria and inner city Melbourne. The research team seek to use this exploratory study to further work with men from low socio-economic communities, along with community service providers to address the factors that have acted to widen the SES-related physical activity gap in order to improve men’s physical and mental health through the implementation of physical activity initiatives.

Personnel

  • Dr Rochelle Eime
  • Prof Warren Payne
  • Meghan Casey
  • Assoc Prof. Kylie Ball
  • Prof David Crawford

Project Funding

  • UB-Deakin Collaboration $20,000
  • VicHealth $30,000

Project Commencement Date

  • June 2009

Project Completion Date

  • Feb 2010

Scholarly output

  • Draft journal paper

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Welcoming and Inclusive Sport and Active Recreation

Project Summary

Reducing isolation and promoting feelings of inclusion are particularly important for newly arrived migrants during their resettlement process, a period when individuals face numerous physical and emotional challenges to settling in a new country (e.g. housing, employment, language barriers, and limited social networks). Equally important is the promotion of social inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities who have expressed a desire to engage in more community activities (O'Rourke et al., 2004)and to have more friends (Froese et al., 1999). Addressing social inclusion is important for mental health and wellbeing and participation in organised sport and recreation can provide opportunities for social interaction, provision of social support and peer bonding, increased life satisfaction, and fewer symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression (Torjman, 2004; Valois et al., 2004; Seippel, 2006; Street et al., 2007). A preliminary investigation (Casey & Payne, 2009), however, found that young people with intellectual disabilities and young people who had recently arrived in Australia as refugees and/or migrants experienced a number of barriers to participation in club-based sport and recreation. The barriers to participation in club-based sport and recreation included lack of self-confidence, safety, and familiarity with club-based sport and recreation, other ‘life’ priorities, lack of transport, and participation costs. Furthermore, interviews with sport and recreation club administrators found that sport and recreation clubs tended to adopt an ad-hoc range of reactive strategies to welcome and include new participants and many strategies were targeted to the broader community in general rather than to specific groups. This research project seeks to work with young people from newly arrived backgrounds and young people with intellectual disabilities, along with their families, sport and recreation clubs, and community service providers to promote feelings of inclusion through participation in club-based sport and recreation.

Personnel

  • Meghan Casey
  • Prof Warren Payne
  • Dr Alex Donaldson

Project Funding

  • Central Highlands Sports Assembly $38,500

Project Commencement Date

  • December 2008

Project Completion Date

  • December 2009

Scholarly output

  • Draft journal paper

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Skits evaluation

Project Summary

This research explored the health messages adolescents received from participation in drama-based health education programs and explored how these messages and performances build self-confidence to reduce the risks associated with drug and alcohol use and sexual activity. Audience members (secondary school students in years 9-11), secondary school teachers and staff from Ballarat Community Health Centre will be invited to participate in focus group discussions. The focus groups will aim to generate discussion about the overall perception of the program, the types of health messages students recall; the relevance of the real-life scenarios; the types of skills developed to reduce the risk of harm from drugs, alcohol and sexual activity; and how the program is followed-up in schools. The drama-based health education program being evaluated is the Skit program developed and coordinated by Ballarat Community Health Centre.

Personnel

  • Meghan Casey
  • Amanda Mooney
  • Prof Warren Payne

Project Funding

  • Ballarat Community Health Centre $22,748

Project Commencement Date

  • December 2008

Project Completion Date

  • September 2009

Scholarly output

  • Conference abstract

Casey, M., Mooney, A., Payne, W., Murphy, A. (2010). Drama-based health education: Schools and agencies building student resilience through partnerships. To be presented at the Australian Health Promotion Association 19th National Conference, Walking the Talk Together: Partnerships for Health Promotion, 30 May – 2 June 2010.

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The Contribution of Sport and Physical Activity to Women’s well-being

Project Summary

Given the social nature of participation in sport, we hypothesised that club sports participants would have greater well-being and quality of life than participants in other forms of physical activity (PA).The purpose of this project is to examine Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) and life satisfaction in women who participate in three contrasting forms of PA; club sport, gym activities and walking. This was a cross-sectional study of the relationship between type of physical activity setting and measures of HRQoL (SF-36) and life satisfaction in 818 women living in rural Victoria, Australia in 2007. Data were also compared with those from a normative sample of 2345 women. After adjustment for potential confounders (age, education, marital status, children aged <16 years, perceived financial stress, level of recreational PA), four of the eight SF-36 subscales, the SF-36 mental health component summary score and life satisfaction were significantly higher in the club sport group than in the other groups. Although cross-sectional research cannot establish causal links, the results suggest that participation in club sport may enhance the health benefits of PA.

Personnel

  • Rochelle Eime
  • Prof Warren Payne
  • Dr Jack Harvey
  • Prof Wendy Brown (University of Queensland)

Project Funding

  • VicHealth (as a component of a two year research capacity grant total of $200,000)

Project Commencement Date

  • 2007

Project Completion Date

  • 2009

Scholarly output

  • R. Eime., Harvey, JT., Brown, WJ., Payne, WR. Does Sports Club Participation Contribute To Health-Related Quality Of Life? Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Publish Ahead of Print DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c3adaa 2009
  • R. Eime., Harvey, JT., Brown, WJ., Payne, WR.Club sport: Contributing to health-related quality of life? 2009 Australian Conference of Science and Medicine in sport; 7th National Physical Activity Conference. Brisbane 2009. Oral Presentation

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The Factors Influencing Transitions in Girls’ Active Leisure and Sport

Project Summary

A three-year longitudinal study of two cohorts of young women, school year 7 (followed through years 7, 8 and 9) and school year 11 (followed through years 11, 12 and 1 year after), will be conducted to examine the factors that influence participation in sport and physical activity. These age groups have been selected because from the ages 12-15 and 16-19 years, important life transitions occur in the lives of young women and drop out from physical activity has been observed in these age groups.

Personnel

  • Dr Rochelle Eime
  • Prof Warren Payne
  • Dr Jack Harvey
  • Dr Caroline Symons (VU)
  • Dr Melinda Craike (Deakin Uni)

Project Funding

  • Sport and Recreation Victoria $66,000
  • VicHealth $110,00
  • UB ECR Grant $9000

Project Commencement Date

  • 2007

Project Completion Date

  • 2010

Scholarly output

  • Eime, R., Payne, W., Casey, M., Harvey, J., Maher, S., Bellamy, M. Transitions in sport and physical activity participation for rural adolescent girls. Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport. Hamilton Island. 2008
  • Casey, M., Eime, R., Payne, W., Harvey, J., Maher, S., Bellamy, M. Participation in sport and physical activity for rural adolescent girls: a socio-ecological approach. Conference of Science and Medicine in Sport. Hamilton Island. 2008
  • Payne, W., Eime, R., Casey, M., Maher, S., Bellamy, M. Participation by girls in community sport and physical activity during the transition to secondary school: A rural Australian perspective. ISBNPA. Banff, Canada. 2008.
  • When and where do the declines in female adolescent participation in physical activity occur? Eime, Harvey, Craike, Symons, Maher, Bellamy and Payne. 5th IWG World Conference on Women and Sport. Sydney 2010
  • Influence of a Healthy and Welcoming Environment on girls’ participation in club sport. Payne, Eime, Harvey, Craike and Symons. International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Minneapolis 2010.
  • Casey, M., Eime, R., Payne, W., Harvey, J. (2009) Using a socio-ecological approach to examine participation in sport and physical activity for rural adolescent girls.Qualitative Health Research. 19 (7), 881-892ISSN: 1049-7323.
  • Eime, R., Payne, W., Casey, M., Harvey, J. Transitions in participation in sport and physical activity for rural adolescent girls. Health Education Research. Accepted October 2008. ISSN: 0268-1153

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Health through sport for women with young children

Project Summary

Studies have reported an association between Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) and physical activity (PA)(Lee and Russell 2002; Brown, Ford et al. 2005; Blacklock, Rhodes et al. 2007). However, the associations between HRQoL and specific types of PA are not known. Our recent research investigated HRQoL and Life Satisfaction in women who participated in club sport (tennis and netball) or in the individual-based activities of going to the gym or walking (Eime, Harvey et al. In press). Given the social nature of participation in sport, we hypothesised that club sport participants would have greater HRQoL and Life Satisfaction than the participants in other forms of PA. After adjustment for confounders the study found that mean scores on the several HRQoL scales (Physical Role Functioning, Vitality, Social Functioning, Mental Health, and Life Satisfaction) were higher in the club sport group than in the other groups. This suggests that participation in club sport may enhance the physical, social and mental health benefits of PA. However, this research project was a cross-sectional study and therefore while a relationship was established, the direction of causality cannot be assumed. Specifically, club sport participation may enhance HRQoL, or enhanced HRQoL may increase the level of club sport participation. The proposed longitudinal study would provide additional evidence regarding causality. The proposed research project would continue to focus on the health of women, specifically mothers with young children, however an added component would be the factor of young children. Aim: To investigate the effects of sport and PA on the wellbeing of women with young children.

Personnel

  • Dr Rochelle Eime
  • Prof Warren Payne
  • Dr Jack Harvey
  • Dr Louise Hayes

Project Funding

  • None as yet

Project Commencement Date

  • Require funding

Project Completion Date

Scholarly output

 

 

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The evaluation of sexual health education and its effect on sexually transmitted infection prevalence in the Ballarat and surrounding communities

Project Summary

Health promotion in sexual education is integral in the improvement of well-being and lifestyle options for adolescent and young adults in rural and regional communities of Ballarat. Formal education spaces and parents are considered vital in the delivery of sexual health to this audience. Sexual education research which imparts knowledge of sexually transmitted infections may have an influencing factor in preventing disease by improving awareness and confidence in adolescents and youth in making well-informed decisions. This correlation study between the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and actual sexual education delivered to students will provide further insight into the importance of a well-structured whole-school based approach which focuses on content, delivery mode and facilitators.

The aim of this research is to evaluate the quantity and quality of the sexual health education in schools in the Ballarat region and identify a potential link between sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates and the level of sexual education delivery to adolescents. Sexual education delivery will be reviewed among Ballarat schools. This research is significant because there is a progressive increase in STI rates in Ballarat since 2006 with no investigation into age groups most affected. The expected outcome of this research is a snapshot view of the ages most effected from STI and a limited inference between the level of sexual health education offered and STI rates within 5 municipalities of the Ballarat region.

Personnel

  • Dr Nina Fotinatos
  • Dr Jenene Burke
  • Ms Amanda Smith
  • Ms Bernadette Duffy

Project Funding

  • Early Career Research Development Program $7,000

Project Commencement Date

  • 1 January 2010

Project Completion Date

  • 31 December 2010

Scholarly Output

  • Proposed reports to DHS and UB
  • Proposed journal articles

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Strengthening Sexuality Education

Project Summary

“Strengthening Sexuality Education” is a crucial component of long-term successful health promotion strategies aimed at students in Ballarat and surrounding areas. Since 2007, the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) have provided schools with descriptions outlining the specific achievements for students at various stages. Sexual health education is currently located within the Health and Physical Education domain (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority 2007). Although these guidelines exist for government schools, the teaching style and resources utilised are dependant on the staff and the school’s policy and practice in relation to puberty and sexuality education. External sexual health providers are often approached to deliver various puberty and sexual health programmes in both primary and secondary schools due to a number of factors including lack of confidence and perceived skill. A number of issues have highlighted concerns regarding the consistency of puberty and sexual health education across the region and whether it is actually meeting the needs of the target audience. Ballarat Community Health together with The Federation University Australia are evaluating the experience of sexual health education of students from two schools from the Ballarat and surrounding areas. This research incorporates focus group methodology in yr 7, 8 and 9 classes. Approximately 80 students per year level will be sampled in a 50% mix of gender. Themes that are under investigation include the following; resource attainment, usefulness of sexual topics currently taught, perceived levels of awareness; areas that require improvements; assessing delivery styles of sexual health topics and the overall effectiveness of sexual health education in relation to social and emotion behaviour. This mixed method approach will allow an analysis of both qualitative and quantitative results. The findings of this research may potentially highlight the problematic themes that have been arising throughout general discussions in Ballarat and surrounding schools. Since this project is concerned with the yr 7-9 students, an extension of the investigation could assist with senior students. New valuable knowledge at this stage could also be steered into future teaching education standards and addressing these needs at the pre-service teacher level. Ultimately the research team strives to improve the sexual health education content and delivery style and ensure that it is effective and meeting the needs of the students.

Personnel

  • Dr Nina Fotinatos
  • Dr Jenene Burke
  • Ms Amanda Smith
  • Ms Bernadette Duffy

Project Funding

  • Addressing Disadvantage and Inequality in Education & Health $2,500
  • Ballarat Community Health Centre $2,500

Project Commencement Date

  • June 2009

Project Completion Date

  • December 2010

Scholarly Output

  • Proposed reports to DEECD and UB; Proposed journal articles

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Re-engaging young people with learning

Project Summary

This research will explore how young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who have become disengaged from and left school, resume formal learning. This will require understanding the complex range of personal, educational, and institutional impediments these young people encounter in reconnecting to learning; the conditions that have to be created for re-engagement with learning to occur; and the effects on their lives, health, life chances and communities. Studying this issue from the ‘inside’ perspective of young people is crucial to generating new knowledge with which to tackle a protracted problem. The outcome of the research will be a profile of the conditions necessary for re-engaging learning within the most marginalised groups.

 

Personnel

  • Professor John Smyth (CI)
  • Associate Professor John McDonald (CI)
  • Dr Peter McInerney
  • Dr Annette Foley
  • Keith Peters
  • Sol Smyth
  • Tim Harrison

Project Funding

  • Australian Research Council Linkage Grant - $150,000
  • Department of Education and Early Childhood Development - $75,000

Project Commencement Date

  • 4 January 2010

Project Completion Date

  • 3 January 2013

Scholarly Output

-

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Regional Schools Outreach Program - evaluating aspiration-building

Project Summary

This project is developing a research focus to its current program evaluation processes. Currently, a two-pronged approach is utilised, first analysing the immediate effectiveness of the program delivery, and then analysing the longer-term impact of the program on individuals’ educational choices over the later years of their schooling. In order to measure the long-term efficacy of the program, a series of qualitative case studies have been developed with participants in the RSOP. These will look at the educational, family and community environments of the participants, the barriers they face to further education, the program’s impacts on these barriers and participants’ attitudes, and the pathways that the participants follow through their schooling. The outcome of this project will be an understanding of the program’s impact over the duration of the participants’ schooling, and the factors that influence their aspirations for further education. Long-term funding sources for detailed research are being explored.

Personnel

  • Prof John Smyth
  • Tim Harrison
  • Darcy Franklin
  • Kimberly Pappaluca

Project Funding

  • Regional Schools Outreach Program – general funding

Project Commencement Date

  • June 2009

Project Completion Date

  • Planned as ongoing – currently funded until December 31, 2010.

Scholarly output

 -

 

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The place of social space – a sociology of football in two regional towns

Project Summary

This project is a joint Federation University Australia / Deakin University collaboration which aims to explore the way in which football clubs engender a sense of place in two ‘disadvantaged’ regional communities.

The research aims to understand:

  • the role of football in the life of their community
  • the role of football and football clubs in developing and sustaining community identity
  • how the football club carries the broader aspirations and desires of a community
  • how important football clubs are in understanding ‘working class’ communities

The research will take place in a way that engages members of the community and football clubs directly in the research process as the issues of place building are explored. This will be done by a three-part research model which includes the following features:

  • In depth (ethnographic) interviewing
  • Collaborative writing
  • Co-Interpretation

Personnel:

  • Professor John Smyth
  • A/Professor Chris Hickey
  • Dr Damian Blake
  • Tim Harrison
  • Amanda Mooney

Project Funding

  • Deakin UB Collaboration Fund $20,000

Project Commencement Date

  • May 2010

Project Completion Date

  • December 2010

Scholarly output

  • Books, chapters, reports, journal articles, conference presentations etc.

 

 

 

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A tale of two communities: Civic engagement 15 years beyond amalgamation

Project Summary

In 1994 the Kennett government in Victoria introduced a program of amalgamation in the local government sector. 210 municipalities were amalgamated to 78. Most regional centres saw a number of smaller municipalities merged into one larger body covering the entire centre. The regional city identified in this study saw parts of seven municipalities amalgamated to form a single large city council.

Based on preliminary research in the South there is a sense that one of the communities that was represented wholly by a single municipality in the pre-amalgamation model of local government has become disenfranchised in the new system. Expressions of civic disengagement and diminished active citizenship have come through in a ‘community listening’ event and one on one conversations. This community is identified as significantly disadvantaged in the Socio-economic Index for Areas (SIEFA). For the purposes of the study this area will be identified as Kookaburra Town.

There is a strong feeling among residents that their community life has been significantly diminished by amalgamation and previously active community members have become disconnected. There are no visible signs of broad civic engagement or community activity. There is however a strong sense of pride expressed my residents of Kookaburra Town in where they live and what they have previously achieved as a community.

A nearby community in an area that borders the South which now forms part of the same larger city council was also previously represented by its own local government of a similar size to Kookaburra Town. This community is identified as significantly advantaged in the SIEFA index. This community will be known as Crown Village for the purposes of the study. Crown Village is a rural village community whereas Kookaburra Town is an urban community – both communities are about the same distance for the centre of the regional city that they form part of.

Crown Village appears to have not suffered the same degree of civic disengagement following Council amalgamations. There is a sense of engagement expressed through major events and festivals being held in the community and a strong and vocal progress association. There is a sense that this community is still politically connected in the new model of local political representation and that there are substantial community benefits in this connection.

This study will explore the differences between the levels of civic engagement and active citizenship between the two communities and possible factors affecting this.

 

Personnel:

  • Professor John Smyth
  • Tim Harrison
  • Sol Smyth

Project Funding

 

Project Commencement Date

  • February 2010

Project Completion Date

  • August 2010

Scholarly output

  • Journal articles, conference presentations etc.

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Classroom Connections: Malawi, Zambia and Uganda Pilot

Project Summary

The project involved piloting the Classroom Connections workshops and material with local teachers from Malawi, Uganda and Zambia. These workshops were developed as a response to retention issues for primary aged girls in all three countries. From October 29th through October 31st, 20 participants completed the three-day workshop held at the Guidance Counseling and Youth Development Centre for Africa (GCYDCA) in Lilongwe Malawi. The same program was delivered to 20 participants in Kampala, Uganda from November 3 to November 5. A third program was delivered to 20 participants in Lusaka, Zambia from November 10 to 12. Participants complete pre and post evaluation surveys to assess participant learning and reaction as well as the impact on student retention figure in participating schools. Researchers found that while participant learning levels were low (5.4%) improvement, most were experienced educators with a high level of understanding prior to commencement of the workshop. Participant reaction to the survey was positive (average 88.8%) across the three countries. Key findings from each country included increased academic performance (Malawi), reduced absenteeism (Uganda), increased community involvement (Zambia). Student retention figures are scheduled for collection in 2010.

Personnel

  • Dr James O’Meara

Project Funding

  • $28 K UNESCO ($20K) and International Council on Education for Teaching ($8K)

Project Commencement Date

  • November 2008

Project Completion Date

  • December 2009

Scholarly output

  •  

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Classroom Connections: ‘Promoting Education for All’

Project Summary

The Classroom Connections program represents an Australian initiative seeking to assist developing countries progress towards achieving Gender Equity and Universal Primary Education by 2015. Participating teachers learn about establishing caring, inclusive classroom environments that promote cooperative learning and positive interactions through the establishment of sustainable support peer groups of 4-6 students. Throughout this three day experience they also understand how establishing school – based support networks and promoting the development of social skills among learners helps address both equity and retention issues. This phase of the project involves expanding the implementation of the program beyond Malawi, Uganda and Zambia to include Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The expansion of the program necessitated the building of governance capacity among those who were responsible for the implementation of the Classroom Connections initiative within their country. This focus on building the governance capacity of participants expanded the cross-cutting nature of the Classroom Connections program to include MDG 8, ‘Develop a Global Partnership for Development’. From October 5th through October 8th, 20 participants completed the four-day workshop held at the Guidance Counseling and Youth Development Centre for Africa (GCYDCA) in Lilongwe Malawi. Participants will supply country-based reports outlining the approach, justification, results, implications, and recommendations for future programs. These reports will assist researchers investigate the contribution of teaching strategies and student support networks to student retention figures in the participating schools.

Personnel

  • Dr James O’Meara

Project Funding

  • $100 K AusAID

Project Commencement Date

  • September 2009

Project Completion Date

  • July 2010

Scholarly output

  • Nil to date

 

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Classroom Connections: ‘Celebrating success & connecting others’

Project Summary

The project involves conducting a Classroom Connections summit for all 2009 Classroom Connections countries. Participants are seeking a forum for sharing and celebrating the best practices in their country. These countries are also looking towards teacher colleges for sustaining the supply of Classroom Connections teachers in the future. Two delegates from each country (one Ministry, one teacher college), will participate in a one-day Classroom Connections dissemination summit in Malawi, and a 3 day Classroom Connections training. The expected project reach is 180 Schools, 36 Teacher colleges 180 teachers, 36 teacher educators and 144 pre-service teachers in 9 countries. Participants will supply country-based reports outlining the approach, justification, results, implications, and recommendations for future programs. Researchers will examine the conflict of program fidelity and local ownership through the implementation of Classroom Connections programs in nine Sub-Saharan countries.

Personnel

  • Dr James O’Meara

Project Funding

  • $100 K AusAID

Project Commencement Date

  • September 2010

Project Completion Date

  • July 2011

Scholarly output

Nil to date

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Count Us In! - Social Inclusion Project

Project Summary

The project will foster and develop a network of community partnerships to plan, develop and maintain a community garden within a public sector residential aged care facility. The key social inclusion outcome will focus of forming lasting connections between older people and young people from the local community. The project will use the community garden as a focus for the relationships and act as a vehicle for intergenerational learning and developing positive relationships.

The project builds from collaboration between a number of organisations including Ballarat Health Services, Federation University Australia, Enterprising Communities Inc, Ballarat East Community Garden and the Wendouree West Men’s Shed. These organisations will bring practical expertise in project evaluation and working with older people, young people and community gardens. The key element however remains the project participation of the individual older and young people.

The project is simple in its design. The partner organisations and project participants will work together to plan, construct and maintain a community garden within the aged care facility. Each participant will be involved in the project to the degree to which their individual capacity allows. On this basis the project will allow participation of low and high care residents. The project will provide opportunities for intergenerational learning and connection to the community in ways not previously available to the participants. The key to the success of the project is in using the community garden setting to create the space for younger and older people to share experiences and develop lasting relationships. It provides social inclusion opportunities for both residents and young people.

 

Personnel:

  • Professor Sally Wellard
  • Tim Harrison

Project Funding

  • Victorian Department of Human Services $27,720

Project Commencement Date

  • May 2010

Project Completion Date

  • August 2010

Scholarly output

  • Journal articles, conference presentations etc.

 

 

 

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Prison Education: International Trends and Perspectives

Project Summary

This project is the completion of a manuscript contracted for publication as a book in 2011 (Peter Lang: New York). The book will examine current penal education policy in democratic western nations, including the USA; UK; European Union and Australia. It will provide a comprehensive analysis of current trends and issues. Prison education is known to afford some inmates opportunities to avoid the recidivist cycle, but lack of access to education and various factors inherent in prison culture tend to place significant obstacles and limitations before those inmates wishing to pursue it. Questions and topics covered will include:

  • Why is prison education important?
  • How does prison education relate to notions of human rights?
  • Can prison education offer inmates opportunities to “turn back”
  • What role does prison education play in lowering re-offending (recidivism) rates?
  • How do race and ethnicity shape prison education – are there significant differences in programs offered to indigenous populations and/or ethnic minorities,  who are over-represented in prison populations throughout the Western world?
  • What is the relationship between correction officers, educators and governments?
  • Which prisoners are most likely to benefit from prison education programs?

 Personnel

  • Dr Jacqueline Wilson
  • Associate Professor Barry Golding
  • Dr Fred Cahir
  • Ms Shirley Morgan

 Project Funding

  • Nil

 Project Commencement Date

  • December 2008

 Project Completion Date

  • December 2010 (Submission of manuscript)

 Scholarly output

  • Co authored Book

 

 

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