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:

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.

The submission date for contributions to this research has been extended to February 28, 2021.

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.

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: rebecca.kuhnert@mq.edu.au

The Evidence Institute is proud to partner with the Gonski Institute for Education (UNSW) in their ground-breaking research project Growing Up Digital Australia.  This research project is 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.

To find out more about this project visit the Growing Up Digital Australia website.

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: arludo.mailchimpsites.com

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.

This project will explore how teachers and administrators across regional schools in NSW responded to family and student needs, rapid shifts to online learning environments, and social distancing mandates during a global pandemic. It will also consider how resources in regional areas were delegated, accessed, and used during the crisis, with a focus on administrator and teacher support.

What does participation involve?

The project has two parts:

  • Teaching staff participation in an online anonymous Qualtrics survey.  The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and will involve short answer and Likert responses. 
  • Principal participation in a follow up virtual Skype or WebEx interview. This interview will be conducted by members of the research team.  You will be provided with the interview questions prior to the interview, but there may be follow-up questions during the interview.  The interview will take approximately 30 minutes.

The research team will share the results of the survey with you and your staff and will ask for you to approve your interview transcript prior to sharing results with a wider audience. 

Participation is completely voluntary and participants can withdraw at any time.  An information sheet is provided on the right side of this webpage with more details about data storage and the research process.

What happens next?

If you wish to participate, please contact Sally Lamping to confirm your participation. This will also provide an opportunity to clarify any final questions. As Principal, you will then be asked to read and sign the information and consent form (found on the right side of this page). Signing the consent indicates that you agree for your school to participate in the research project.

Once you have confirmed participation, the researchers will send the survey link to the school’s nominated administrative support specialist to distribute to teaching staff, along with an information sheet. 

Gender-related issues are significant in the lives of young people, however they have become less prominent in the ways we talk about schooling. This three-year research study, Gender Matters: Changing Gender Equity Policies and Practices in Australian Secondary Schooling, aims to address the current gap that exists in education policy and practice around gender and gender-based issues. Capturing the voices and perspectives of young people in relation to their experience and understanding of gender-related issues is a critical component of the research.

We have investigated the formation of historic gender related policies, where gender was understood to impact across a wide spectrum of areas including curriculum and pedagogy, institutional structures, behaviours, postschool pathways, gendered understandings and practices and more. We have also talked to recent school leavers (18-24) about their experiences of gender at school.

In this next phase of the research we would like to work with selected secondary schools to investigate how school executive, teachers and (Year 11) students perceive the relevance of gender in schooling in the present, and how locally developed school policies and practices support gender equity. These may include a range of policies that are not overtly about gender (e.g. wellbeing) but that have these effects. We are interested in working with a small number of single sex schools and coeducational schools across a range of locations and demographics. Participation will involve interviews with school executive and teachers and focus groups with year 11 students. If you feel your school can offer insight into how gender equity principles can be developed and nurtured in a school environment, we would be very happy to talk to you about participating in our research.

We recognise that gender related issues are complex and subtle and that contemporary young people have a range of creative ways of communicating feelings, experiences and insights. So we are also offering a short filmmaking workshop to two schools for small groups of interested Year 11 students. These are led by the PhD candidate who is a professional filmmaker. This enables young people to engage in a creative and enjoyable process of representing and responding to gender-related issues pertaining to secondary schooling through their preferred media. Students who participate in this component will produce short (1-3min) films which touch on an aspect of gendered experience and schooling of their choice. In pilot workshops, recent school produced multimedia artefacts addressed the following aspects of school life: subject choice, gender stereotypes, uniforms, peer friendships, sport, identity. Materials produced will contribute to the doctoral research and to resources for schools. Students will learn and practice fundamental cinematic techniques and strategies under the guidance of an expert, incorporating image making, storyboarding, scripting, and film making technologies.  


What are the benefits for my school community?

  • Opportunity to share good practice on gender equity policies and practice
  • Opportunity for young people to contribute their voices and perspectives on how gender impacts on the lives of secondary students
  • Opportunities to develop filmmaking skills

When will the study take place?

2021

I'm interested – what are the next steps?

Contact the research team via the project email at: gendermatters@westernsydney.edu.au

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.