Towards a model of collaboration and empowerment in middle years literacy research

Year: 2002

Author: Emmitt, Marie, Culican, Sarah

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Government-funded research in education carried out by universities can raise a number of issues regarding research methodologies and ethics. Underlying these issues are deeper tensions emerging from incongruent ideologies, even conflicts of interest, regarding the role and identity of academic research within the context of the corporate marketplace. With the pressure on Faculties of Education to be entrepreneurial in competitive tendering for research projects, issues related to ethics and ownership can get lost amidst the unrealistic timelines and inadequate budgets that characterise many short-term educational research contracts.

This paper will discuss these issues in relation to the Middle Years Literacy Research Project carried out by Deakin University. This Project was part of the Commonwealth-funded Successful Interventions research involving the three education sectors in Victoria. As well as enacting sound principles and ethics in educational research, our aim in the Project was to maximise involvement and ownership of the research by participating case study schools. This was a challenge, given the constraints of the Project brief and the ongoing control of the tendering group.

This presentation will highlight the particular design of this study and ways the research team addressed issues of ethics, ownership and autonomy in school-based educational research.