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PhD Research

Interested in studying with us? To find out more about the N&MRC's diverse activities download our Centre Overview brochure here.

PhD Scholarships

Information for domestic and international PhD students is available on the University of Canberra's Research Scholarships page.

Current students

Research students associated with the Centre and the titles of their Research Projects are listed below:

Dan Andrew photo

Dan Andrew

'Attention and the control of audiences and content in the modern Australian media landscape'

Aim: to explore the changing dynamic in the interdependent relationships between the media, advertisers and audiences across the current Australian media landscape.

Primary supervisor: Kerry McCallum

Morris Carpenter

'mHealth adoption for the self-management of type 2 diabetes'

Aim: to identify barriers and enablers to the adoption of digital tools on mobile devices that facilitate self-management of type 2 diabetes.

Method/s:  Semi-structured interviews and self-complete surveys.

Initial findings: Diabetes management self-efficacy is a key component of effective mobile digital engagement within a health care context.Primary supervisor: Sora Park

Liam Engel

'An Online Australian Drug Discussion: Bluelight.org and Australian Drug Policy'

Aim:   to develop connections between drug users and drug policy

Method:  Qualitative thematic analysis

Initial findings:  The Australian Drug Discussion forum provided empowering resources to drug users, somewhat compensating for the restriction of accessible resources via the problematisation of drug users by formal policy.
Provision of these resources was assisted by the maintenance of informal policy, perceptions of knowledge as flexible, a culture of experience sharing and the dual roles of participant professionals. These factors enhanced the capacity for discussion to be inclusive of different problematisations.  Framed as a discussion of reflexive policy, this project suggests that a conceptual dynamic of problematisation and sensitivity could assist the politicisation of problematised identities and contexts broader than drug users.

Primary supervisor: Deborah Lupton.

Photo of Nalini HaynesNalini Haynes

'Looking through a glass darkly: representations of albinism in contemporary storytelling'
Aim: To investigate representations of albinism (hypopigmented human and/or anthropomorphic characters) in contemporary science fiction and fantasy from the perspective of a person with albinism.

Method/s: cultural textual analysis leaning towards the critical end of the cultural spectrum

Primary supervisor: Deborah Lupton

Jayan Kurian

'User-generated content on the Facebook page of Emergency Management Organizations'

Aim: to explore comments posted on the Facebook page of emergency management organizations and to establish its implications to the stakeholders of emergency management.

Method/s: thematic analysis and semi-structured interviews with the administrators of emergency management organizations.

Initial findings: A study of user-generated content yields valuable lessons for stakeholders to learn from past emergencies and devise disaster resilience strategies for the future.
Primary supervisor: Jerry Watkins.

Jee Young Lee

'A user-centric digital inclusion framework for a digitalised society: Linking Australia’s digital divide policy and digital exclusion experiences'

Aim: to examine how digital divide policies have addressed the issues of both access and usage gaps, and explore the actual experiences of digitally disadvantaged groups

Method/s: documentary analysis and in-depth interviews with non-and limited users.

Initial findings: Latent circumstances surrounding non-use and the underlying circumstances of limited users were identified. Non-engagement impacted participants’ everyday lives in many ways, regardless of their level of technological use or non-use.

Primary supervisor: Sora Park

Nicole MathisonNicole Mathison

'An examination of the role of effective knowledge practises underpinning technological innovation'

Primary supervisor: Sally Burford.

Kieran McGuinnes

'Secret public policy: the rhetoric of major defence procurement in government and news media'

Aim: to investigate the use of rhetoric and strategies of mass persuasion by journalists, politicians and lobby groups in public discourse relating to the future submarine project (SEA1000)

Method/s: critical discourse analysis

Initial findings: Discourses relating to the project are heavily politicised, centring on debates over hyper-regionalised economic and political risks rather than international geopolitical relationships or rational cost-benefit analysis of the project and its goals.

Primary Supervisor: Kerry McCallum

Catherine Page Jeffery

'Media Technologies of Parenting: Children and Digital Culture'

Aim: to explore parental anxieties and practices in relation to children’s use of technologies.

Method/s: focus groups and interviews with parents of teenagers.

Initial findings: Most parents interviewed are concerned to varying degrees about their children’s use of technology, and employ a number of strategies to regulate and manage their children’s use.

Primary supervisor: Glen Fuller.

Shara Ranasinghe

'Enhancing Patient-centred Cancer Communication during cancer treatment '

Aim: to examine the communication experiences of cancer patients, health professionals (Oncologist & Oncology nurses) and carers during the course of the cancer patient’s treatment in order to enhance patient-centred communication (PCC) and improve quality care for the cancer patient during treatment stage.

Method: semi-structured interviews

Initial Findings: Stigma of cancer continues to prevail in the community. Appropriate PCC can impact patient outcomes and is positively associated with patient-centred care such as; patient satisfaction, emotional health, symptom management and adherence to treatment.

Primary supervisor: Kate Holland.

Prue Robson

'Positioning Canberra: the effectiveness of place image communications in attracting residents to cities facing unfavourable stereotypes’

Aim: to examine how effective place image communications are at having prospective residents view a place as desirable to live, especially when an outdated, unfavourable, or stereotypical reputation exists.

Method/s: mixed methods case study combining document analysis and surveys.

Primary supervisor: Deborah Lupton.

Theresa Ryan

And where she goes: an analysis of leadership models for Indigenous women in Australia'

Aim: identify common leadership frameworks as a foundation upon which to further build towards the maturation and success of Indigenous women’s leadership

Method/s: yarning and Dadirri involving 20 Indigenous female leaders

Initial findings: (a) the term 'leadership' was interpreted by Indigenous female leaders in a different way to accepted Western definitions, and (b) Indigenous female leadership has a broader implementation than Western concepts of leadership.

Primary Supervisor: Kerry McCallum.

Katharine StuartKatharine Stuart

Understanding records management in a digital Australian government'

Primary supervisor: Sally Burford.

Temple Uwalaka

'Mobile internet and democratic governance in Nigeria'

Aim: investigate the impact of mobile internet on the rise of digital activism among Nigerian university students during the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protest.

Method/s: quantitative survey of media platforms used by student protesters; semi-structured qualitative interviews on protestors’ experiences.

Initial findings: controlling for other factors, mobile social networking applications and social media use increased the odds that a student attended the first day of the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests.

Primary supervisor: Jerry Watkins.

PhD Completions

Melissa Sweet: “Acknowledgement”A social journalism research project relating to the history of lock hospitals and other forms of medical incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Michelle Dunne Breen: 'Discursive Depletion: the Fourth Estate and Aboriginal opposition to the Northern Territory Emergency Response 2007' (Graduated April 2015). Primary supervisor Kerry McCallum.

James Mahoney: 'Strategic horizons: a paradigm for strategic communication planning and management in organisational contexts' (Graduated April 2015). Primary supervisor Kerry McCallum.

David Marshall: 'Political discourse in a media saturated environment: the Howard Government's approach to communicating with the Australian electorate' (Graduated April 2015). Primary supervisor Kerry McCallum.

Lisa Waller: 'The dynamic interplay of news media and bilingual education policy in Australia's Northern Territory 1988-2008' (Graduated September 2013). Primary supervisor Kerry McCallum.

Katrina Clifford: 'The Thin Blue Line of Mental Health: Mediated Representations of Police Use of Force in Mental Health Crisis Interventions'. (Graduated March 2013). Primary supervisor Warwick Blood.