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School of Arts and Humanities

The following list provides information on projects currently open to new research students. For more information on each project please contact the nominated supervisor within the project description.

This page will be updated as opportunities become available so please check back regularly.

Project Outline:

The proposed series of studies will provide the sporting sector with an overview of how elite athletes manoeuvre different setbacks during their career. This series of studies will investigate athletes missing the opportunity to compete at the ‘top level’ in their sport, how they cope with injury, and the transition to life after retiring from competitive sport. The prospective studies bring together an interdisciplinary team of researchers to investigate the ways in which athletes prepare, cope (or not), and transition to life after sport.

Desired skills: Applicants must demonstrate strong knowledge, skills and interest in either exercise physiology/science/psychology/ mental health and wellbeing/ or other relevant academic fields.

Project Area: Exercise Sport Science/Exercise Medicine/Psychology

Supervisor(s): Dr Caitlin Fox-Harding, Associate Professor Joanne Dickson

Project level: PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: 2021

Project Outline:
Forced migration due to climate and environmental change is expected to be one of the defining trends of population movement in the 21st century. But precisely what prompts a decision to move, and how decisions are made about where to relocate to, remain understudied. This project would blend cultural, social, place-based and ecological perspectives to investigate one or several of the following questions: What are the attributes of people who are likely to relocate, and what are the ecological characteristics of places they are likely to relocate from? What are the environmental change tipping points for leaving a place (either as an individual or as part of a collective)? How do people respond to abrupt versus incremental changes to their environment? How are decisions about where to move to made? How are host communities likely to respond to climate migration, in particular in assessing the priorities of local (within Australia) versus international migrants.

Desired Skills: This project would suit someone with a background in social, cross-cultural, cultural and/or environmental psychology. Candidates with a background in human ecology would also be considered. Experience in quantitative methods and software packages (e.g., SPSS, Stata, R); appreciation of experimental design methods; an appreciation of qualitative methods or experience with spatial analysis would be advantageous.

Project Area: Social, cross-cultural, cultural and/or environmental psychology

Supervisor(s): A/Prof Justine Dandy, Dr Zoe Leviston, Dr Deirdre Drake, Prof Pierre Horwitz (Science)

Project level: PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: Ongoing

Project Outline:
The history of youth work in Western Australia is under-researched. There is scope for a variety of further projects in this field, and there may be opportunities to collaborate with youth agencies or with the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia. Projects could be tailored to suit the requirements of Honours, Masters or PhD.

Desired Skills:

  • A sound knowledge of youth work theory
  • Good written and analytical skills
  • An interest in combining for textual and interview research methods
  • An interest in an approach that locates the history of youth work in its socio-political context

Project Area: Youth Work

Supervisor(s): A/Prof Trudi Cooper

Project level: Honours, Masters, PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: Ongoing

Project Outline:
This United Nations Agenda 2030 established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. It was envisaged that SDGs would only be achievable through holistic collaboration between government, non-government organisations and industry. Implementations requires systemic analysis of problems and integrated cross-government and cross-sectorial policy and strategy. A purpose of this project is to design and conduct research into how youth work can contribute to this program and what support would be required. Ideally this is a PhD project. There is potential for an Australian focus, an international focus, or a comparative focus. It may be possible to design a more bounded research project evaluating local initiatives for a Masters degree.

Desired Skills:

  • A sound knowledge of youth work theory
  • Good written and analytical skills
  • An interest in international policy and strategy for sustainable development
  • An interest in systems thinking and the global context of youth work

Project Area: Youth Work

Supervisor(s): A/Prof Trudi Cooper

Project level: Honours, Masters, PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: Ongoing

Project Outline:
We know that the transition to tertiary studies can be a difficult time for many individuals. Higher education providers (HEP) have implemented many programs to ease the transition for students. HEPs have developed transition programs for school leavers that include opportunities to visit and experience university campuses prior to completing secondary studies, workshops, orientation/emersion programs and uni preparation courses. For mature age students, orientations, course presentation evenings and workshops have also been implemented to allow all ages of students to feel comfortable at the idea of coming to a university campus. Once at a HEP, mentoring programs, learning communities, and study groups are often implemented as vehicles to assist in the transition to studying. In spite of much of the research, and the implementation of many programs, attrition levels are a continual issue for universities with academic and professional staff often trying to target the reasons for attrition, and tend to implement ad hoc strategies to stem the flow of students leaving higher education. When research is carried out to understand why attrition is still a large issue, HEPs generally find a myriad of idiosyncratic reasons related to the nature of the complex lives of the modern day student. Attrition statistics are generally the largest within the first year of study where movement is about the “fit” of the student to, university, course, class etc. Most transition literature, and programs, targets the social and academic transition of students. Indeed systems of peer support and academic support we see in HEPs have been built on these factors. However, it seems that little is known about the health and wellbeing of students generally and how these factors may impact their ability to maintain a position within higher education. Mental (ill) health statistics in students are reportedly equal to or greater than that of the general population. In addition health behaviours of Australian students correlated highly with lower levels of mental health. However there are still very few studies that specifically look at mental and physical health of students and the impact on their ability to remain at university, study and succeed. Further to this, with levels of subclinical ill health (suboptimal health) on the increase in the general population it would follow that suboptimal health statistics of students are also likely to be increasing. This study seeks to measure the health and wellbeing of contemporary university students and how it relates to study and academic success.

Desired Skills: Psychology Honours degree (or equivalent)

Project Area: Psychology

Supervisor(s): Professor Julie Ann Pooley, Professor Stephen Teo

Project level: PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: Ongoing (prior to end of 2019)

Project Outline:
The use of body worn cameras (BWC) by police officers is undoubtedly useful for the purposes of gathering evidence and demonstrating police officer adherence to jurisdictional policies (i.e., appropriate use of a force option). However, the use of body worn cameras could pose problems for memory and recall.  An opportunity exists for a PhD candidate to contribute to research which examines how the use of BWCs may contribute to errors in memory and recall.

Desired Skills: Psychology Honours degree (or equivalent)

Project Area: Criminology

Supervisor(s): Associate Professor Pamela Henry, Dr Nikki Rajakaruna, Dr Adrian Scott

Project level: PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: Ongoing (prior to end of 2019)

Project Outline:
A leading model of motivation proposes that two independent systems underpin human behaviour and emotion: an approach motivational system thought to be sensitive to reward stimuli and an avoidance motivational system thought to be sensitive to threat and punishment stimuli. The proposed research aims to investigate both implicit and explicit measures of motivation and goal motivation in relation to affective disorders and to examine whether these motivational processes represent vulnerability and maintenance markers for future symptom severity. All supervisors are members of the international MARG research group (www.imarg.website). The successful candidate(s) would also become a member of MARG.

Desired Skills: Psychology Honours degree (or equivalent)

Project Area: Psychology

Supervisor(s): Professor Joanne Dickson, Professor Alfred Allan, Dr Nicholas Moberly (University of Exeter, UK)

Project level: PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: Ongoing (prior to end of 2019)

Project Outline:
Goal motivation is fundamental to human experience and most therapeutic interventions. Despite the importance of goal motivation and the development of prominent theories of goal regulation, relatively little is known about the role of goal motivation in affective disorders (e.g., depression, self-harm). However, in recent years, goal dysregulation is increasingly being implicated in the etiology and maintenance of affective disorders. Affective disorders have also been linked to processes of social comparison. The proposed research aims to draw these two areas of research (personal goal pursuit and social comparison processes) together in order to develop an over-arching motivational-cognitive model of affective disorder. All supervisors are members of the international MARG research group (www.imarg.website). The successful candidate(s) would also become a member of MARG.

Desired Skills: Psychology Honours degree (or equivalent)

Project Area: Psychology

Supervisor(s): Professor Joanne Dickson, Professor Alfred Allan, Dr Peter Taylor (University of Manchester, UK)

Project level: PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: Ongoing (prior to end of 2019)

Project Outline:
This project investigates how Australian identity is perceived by the Australian community, and how these perceptions shape attitudes toward multiculturalism, intergroup relations, and behavioural outcomes. Recent research suggests perceptions of Australian identity is comprised of a number of distinguishable dimensions, including the endorsement of democratic values, an emphasis on socio-cultural markers, through to an appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures. It is not yet understood how, or if, people’s endorsement of these factors relate to attitudes such as acceptance of multiculturalism and immigration policy, or to individual and collective action on behalf of different cultural and ethnic groups. This project would investigate the links between conceptualisations of Australian identity, intergroup relations, and individual and collective behaviours using a blend of cross-sectional and experimental quantitative methods.

Desired Skills: Experience in quantitative methods and software packages (e.g., SPSS, Stata, R); appreciation of experimental design methods; an appreciation of qualitative methods would be advantageous.

Project Area: Social and Cross-Cultural Psychology

Supervisor(s): A/Prof Justine Dandy, Dr Zoe Levinston

Project level: PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: Ongoing

Project Outline:
ARC PhD Scholarship in the Internet of Toys

The Internet of Toys: Benefits and risks of connected toys for children is an ARC funded research project being undertaken at the School of Arts and Humanities, Edith Cowan University, Mount Lawley.  The project has a PhD scholarship attached to it. We are now looking for interested applicants who can commence their PhD in Semester 2, 2018. The successful applicant will carry out research in conjunction with an international research team from Australia, Italy, UK and Belgium and be supervised by Professor Lelia Green and Senior Research Fellow Donell Holloway. The research involves carrying out an ethnographic exploration of children’s use of connected toys, and discourse analyses of the commercial, regulatory and discursive environment in which these toys are designed, marketed, regulated and publically discussed.

Applications due, via email to donell.holloway@ecu.edu.au or l.green@ecu.edu.au, by April 29 2018.

Desired Skills:

  • Applicants should possess a background in communications, education or similar field and be prepared to carry out qualitative research with children aged 0 to 12 and their parents.
  • Working With Children Check required before starting PhD.
  • Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident visa or New Zealand citizen.
  • Refereed reports highly recommended.
  • Honours or Research Masters prerequisite – although research experience combined with lesser academic qualifications may also be considered if deemed to be equivalent.

Project Area: Communications, Education & Social Science

Supervisor(s): Dr Donell Holloway, Professor Lelia Green

Project level: PhD

Funding: 

  • ECU funded Scholarship attached to ARC Discovery Project.
  • Amount: $28,000 per year (tax free) stipend/living allowance and a possible $2,000 relocation allowance
  • Tenure: 3 years

Start date: July 1, 2018

Project Outline:
Recently it has been discovered that individuals present with idiosyncratic face scanning eye movement patterns during face-to-face conversation. A PhD opportunity exists to extend upon this work by exploring situational and dispositional factors that might be associated with eye movement patterns. Specific factors of interest will be negotiated between the candidate and the supervisors.

Rogers, Speelman, Guidetti, and Longmuir (2018). Using dual eye tracking to uncover personal gaze patterns during social interaction. Scientific Reports, 8(4721). doi:10.1038/s41598-018-22726-7

Please note the candidate must be able to run lab experiments on ECU Joondalup campus.

Project Area: Cognition

Supervisor(s): Dr Shane Rogers, Professor Craig Speelman

Project level: PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: Ongoing

Project Outline:
This project seeks to leverage existing supervisor expertise at ECU Design in the areas of visual communication and service design, bringing these two fields together for student research projects. Research projects are available to explore the efficacy of pictorial communication in the service design context. Research may focus on any or all aspects from sketching during the service design process, through to storyboarding during prototyping phases and on to finished visual designs for public touchpoints within a service.

Project Area: Design

Supervisor(s): A/Prof Stuart Medley, Dr Hanadi Haddad, Dr Christopher Kueh

Project level: Honours, Masters, PhD

Funding: Applicant should apply for ECUHDR or RTP Scholarship

Start date: Ongoing

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