Research Opportunities for Independent Schools

Working with researchers can be a powerful way to access relevant, context-specific, up to date evidence about a variety of educational topics of importance to your school. This can range from pedagogical frameworks and approaches to opportunities to meaningfully engage with industry. It can also provide opportunities for tailored educator professional learning.

The Evidence Institute assists external researchers when they seek to engage independent schools in their projects, as well as supporting independent schools that are interested in engaging with external research.

On this page, you will find:

Current Research Opportunities

Current research opportunities are listed below.

**Please note that approval from the Principal or Head of School is required for all research conducted in independent schools. Research initiatives listed here are not formally endorsed by AISNSW. 

This research aims to explore teachers’ experiences of having to abandon the traditional classroom for home-based teaching during COVID-19s period of rapid and unprecedented change.

The research team would like to invite teachers from independent schools to participate in this research. Participation would involve construction of a short PhotoVoice digital narrative – a visual/verbal story created through video of photographs, and accompanied by a verbal/written story about the images. It is anticipated that construction of the digital narrative would take around 30 minutes and they would then be submitted to the research data collection portal. 

Stories will be analysed to reveal how this change impacted on teachers’ identity as teachers. This includes their understanding of teaching, what they did, how they related to others as well as conditions enabling or constraining them during the time of remote learning.

Please contact the researchers directly if you are interested in participating in this research.

More than half of Australian young people with mental health disorders do not get treatment. This study aims to transform the management of mental (or emotional) health in young people by identifying youth who are struggling with emotional distress and getting them to appropriate help early. First, we will develop a valid screening tool to allow schools to identify young people with emotional health issues, who may otherwise “slip through the cracks”. Second, we will help schools to identify the best local pathways to care that are evidence-based and accessible.

Associated documents

What are the benefits for my school community?

  • Access to free and easy-to-deliver emotional health screening for students from Year 4 to Year 11, that will identify students who score high on symptoms of emotional distress and who may otherwise “slip through the cracks”
  • Recommendations tailored to your school and community on local, evidence-based referral services, provided by expert researchers and clinicians
  • Increased knowledge for your school mental health staff in methods of screening and identification of emotionally distressed youth
  • Development of guides and templates for your school to use for ongoing screening and referral, if your school would like to continue screening after the study

Participation will involve the sharing of information, participation in screening, provision of feedback. Skills development will be provided, along with detailed findings and supports. More information can be found in the linked Information Sheet.

When will the study take place?

  • Schools will be randomly allocated to either be screened in March 2021 or March 2022
  • The research team will provide feedback about any students who showed up on the survey with symptoms of emotional distress as quickly as possible and you will then be responsible for providing that feedback to the student and/or their parent/guardian.

I’m interested – what are the next steps?

  • To register your interest or for further information, please email the project coordinator, Dr Rebecca Kuhnert:
  • You will be contacted once ethics approval is finalised with an official invitation to participate in the study (towards the end of 2020).

Growing Up Digital Australia is a ground-breaking research project by the Gonski Institute for Education (UNSW) designed to change the status quo and understand how the widespread use of technology is impacting Australian children. Growing Up Digital Australia builds on the research methodology that has been developed by Harvard Medical School and the University of Alberta. In this Australian study, we seek to answer questions around how digital technologies are being used, the benefits and distractions they pose to students and whether they are bridging the divide of equity, or widening it.

Growing Up Digital Australia: Invitation for parents and grandparents to have your say!

This Phase 2 survey has been extended and is now open until 20 November 2020. If you are a parent, carer or grandparent of any child aged 5-17, please complete the survey here. You may also share this invitation to take part in this research with others by sharing the link to the questionnaire. If you are a parent, we would be delighted if you would invite one of your child’s grandparents to take part in this survey.

To find out more about this project, and the results from Phase 1, visit the Growing Up Digital Australia website.

Associated websites

The purpose of this research project is to explore teachers’ perspectives about the best ways to teach enterprise and entrepreneurial education in Australian schools, and to understand challenges and current practices.

You are invited to participate in this research project because you are an Australian teacher who may be teaching enterprise education or some aspects of enterprise education in the form of 21st Century skills or the Australian Curriculum’s General Capabilities.

What does participation involve?

Participation will involve completing a short online survey including Likert scale type questions (Not needed – Essential) and short responses that will take approximately 20 minutes of your time.

Questions will include:

a. In your personal view, what learning outcomes should we be focused on within enterprise education to give all Australian youth the best education possible:
- Growth Mindset (Not Needed <<<->>> Essential)
- Self-awareness & Reflection (Not Needed <<<->>> Essential)

b. What categories best describe your school (multiple answers possible)
- Early childhood
- Primary
- Secondary

c. What would you say are the main challenges for enterprise education in Australian schools?

Your participation in this research project is entirely voluntary. If you agree to participate you do not have to complete any question(s) you are uncomfortable answering. All comments and responses are anonymous i.e. it will not be possible to identify you at any stage of the research, because personal identifying information is not sought in any of the responses. 

This research will explore whether custom made mobile apps can improve their enjoyment of learning science and help students better understand scientific topics. This research is in partnership with an Australian education company – Arludo – created by Associate Professor Michael Kasumovic.

Arludo creates mobile apps that are gamified experiments – as students use the apps to explore scientific concepts, they are collecting scientific data that are automatically displayed as figures. This way, teachers can spend more time helping students understand data. We are exploring whether this improves students’ critical and analytical thinking. You can find more information here:

The mobile apps are free to download and the 8-week program comes with digital worksheets containing videos and questions that students answer online. These worksheets scaffold student learning and assess their understanding using  Bloom’s Taxonomy. Teachers will be able to see student answers in the teacher dashboard to more easily assess understanding and performance.

Guidelines for Collaboration

Key Hints for Independent Schools

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Key Hints for Researchers

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Ethics Considerations

Two key resources have been developed to assist researchers and schools in understanding ethics.