Postgraduate Awards 2008


Dr Anne Angelkovska

The development and validation of an instrument to identify risk of self-harm in children

PhD thesis, The University of Western Australia

Presentation Abstract

Anne AngelkovskaAn instrument measuring the risk of self harm among young school aged children aged between 6-12 years attending mainstream school was developed. One hundred and fifty nine items were generated from the extant knowledge of the risk factors of self harm, from reviews of current instrumentation and interviews with paediatricians, and parents of children who exhibited self harming behaviours. These were subsequently reduced to 42 items. The item affectivity and discrimination of each item was then examined in a pilot study comprising 27 mothers who rated their children on the draft version of the new instrument. Item affectivity and item discriminations were found to be satisfactory with the 42 items. The item affectivity values ranged between .35 and .95 and the item discriminations for each of the Self Harm Risk Assessment for Children (SHRAC) items showed a positive association and ranged from .14 to .85. Overall, the internal consistency of the SHRAC instrument was found to be reliable with a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of .93. Principal axis factor analysis of data from 201 young school aged students revealed six factors associated with the risk of self harm. Preliminary reliability and validity measures of the six components of the newly developed instrument were sound. Recommendations for refinements to the scale and for its application for use among larger samples of children across the general and clinical population are discussed.


Mr Ed Rush

A reflective analysis of a transformative pedagogical approach at a rural Thai University

MEd thesis, Murdoch University

Presentation Abstract

Ed RushMass culture in Thailand creates idealisations about female beauty which cause many women to engage in destructive behaviour such as starvation dieting and forced vomiting. In this presentation I describe efforts to develop awareness among a group of predominately female students at a rural Thai university about the ideological purposes of these idealisations. Using a CD based multimedia research template, the students reported the “common sense” beliefs which help create the beauty ideal and the effects of these beliefs on their own lives and the lives of other women. The major finding of their research was that mass culture creates beauty ideologies to maintain social stratification, in that those women who are made to feel “ugly” because they do not resemble the white skinned underweight ideal tend not to be members of the elite social class which has the resources and time to achieve these ideals. The significance of the project lies in the emancipatory effects that it produced; although a Critical Discourse Analysis showed that the students continued to assimilate some of the values and interests which they had identified as “oppressive”, they also demonstrated to varying degrees that they had ceased to think and behave in ways which had caused them mental and physical damage in the past.


Dr Carmel Suart

Nurturing faith within the Catholic home: A perspective from Catholic parents who do not access Catholic schools

EdD thesis, The University of Notre Dame

Carmel SuartPresentation Abstract

Irrespective of years of genuine effort by the Catholic Church in Australia to support parents in their task of nurturing the faith of their children, the area of family catechesis still remains inadequately addressed. This study is the first major Australian qualitative study conducted with parents who do not access Catholic schools for the education of their children. In the Australian context, most studies in the area of faith development and religious education have been conducted with the parents of children who access the Catholic school system. The purpose of this study was to give Catholic parents who do not access Catholic Schools a voice in sharing their experiences and concerns of the task of nurturing the faith of their children within the context of family life. This group of parents consider themselves a marginalised group within the Catholic Church. The study sought to make a contribution to remedying this marginalisation.


Dr Pina Tarricone

The development and validation of an instrument to identify risk of self-harm in children

PhD thesis, Edith Cowan University

Pina TarriconePresentation Abstract

The process of pairwise comparison was used to measure the quality of teaching documentation, specifically assessment plans, prepared by pre-service secondary teachers enrolled in a Diploma of Education course. Criteria were used to assess the quality of each of the assessment plans. Referring to the criteria, the pairwise comparison process also relied upon qualitative judgments to compare assessment plans with the assessment plans that were identified as referents. Labeling and ordering of the assessment plans helped to classify them in terms of quality, but also keeping in mind that educational measurement comparisons are probabilistic and not deterministic. RummCC was used to analyse the comparisons and rank them to form an interval scale. The logits, which formed the scale, classified and ordered the quality of the assessment tasks from low to high. This ordering and classification process facilitated the comparisons by using specific assessment criteria and qualitative judgments.


Dr Neil MacNeill

Changing teachers’ pedagogic practices: A study of principal leadership

PhD thesis, Curtin University

Truncated Thesis Abstract

Neil McNeillSchools in Australia, and elsewhere, are facing ever-increasing demands in relation to accountability and change from both politicians and community groups. It appeared that reformist driven, structural change had not resulted in sustained improvements in students’ learning. Consequently, it was recognised that the key aspect of effective change in schools required changing what happens in classrooms, and teachers’ pedagogic practices heavily influenced classroom level change. The research literature showed that changing teachers’ pedagogic practices is difficult. To examine this situation in Western Australian schools, this research was designed to investigate the research question: What are the perceptions of Western Australian primary school teachers of the pedagogic change leadership of their school principals? The research design utilised a mixed methods approach to examine the research question. Specifically, a sequential, exploratory mixed method research design was employed to develop of an understanding of pedagogic leadership in the qualitative phase of the research, and this data was then used to inform the quantitative phase of the research. Eleven hypothesised dimensions of pedagogic leadership were identified.


Dr Robin Cordin

Psychopathic-like-traits and aggression in suspended mainstream school children and adolescents

PhD thesis, The University of Western Australia