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Research Thesis Topic

Parent-School Engagement

Topic ID

Thesis Topic/Title
Parent-School Engagement


Professor Sue Saltmarsh oversees a program of research concerned with the ways in which parent-school engagement can best be understood, facilitated and enhanced through everyday educational practices. Parent engagement is crucial to children’s educational success and has been embraced as a policy and educational ideal in many nations around the world. However, many teachers and principals feel under-prepared for this important aspect of their work, and parents from all schooling sectors report similar experiences of both challenging and positive encounters with their child's school. Research in Australia and internationally highlights a number of areas that merit in-depth investigation. These include:

- Factors within school cultures that build bridges or create barriers between home and school
- Initial teacher education and teacher professional development that enhances the capacity of the teaching workforce for working effectively with parents
- Teacher, principal and school administrative staff experiences of engaging with parents, and how these are shaped by factors such as professional cultures, school leadership, workplace demands and community expectations
- Parent perspectives and experiences of engaging with children’s schooling, and how these are shaped by contextual factors such as geographical location, socioeconomic and cultural background, family histories and aspirations, etc
- Parent engagement in education policy, and the ways that policy makers, advocacy groups and professional bodies drive cultural, social and educational change with respect to parent-school engagement

This program of research can accommodate postgraduate students interested in exploring any of the above topics, or other related topics in consultation with Professor Saltmarsh. The research team has expertise in social, cultural and educational theory, and draws on qualitative research methodologies including ethnography, discourse analysis, social semiotics and case study, and quantitative methods including surveys, questionnaires and statistical analysis.

Principal Supervisor

Associate Supervisors

Research Affiliations
  • School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood

Field of Research
  • Specialist Studies in Education

Available Academic Programs

Application Open Date

Application Close Date

USQ Scholarship Applications

Other Scholarship Funding Details;

Pre-approved for Ethics
Not Applicable

Admission Requirements

Please review the admission requirements for the academic program associated with this Thesis Topic

Prospective applicants should contact Professor Saltmarsh at to discuss their research interests and proposed topic for their study prior to submitting their application.

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