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PhD Research

Interested in studying with us? To find out more about the N&MRC's diverse activities download our 2018 annual report here. 

PhD Scholarships

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

Current students

Ahmed AlbaltiAhmed Albalti

'The Impact of Purposeful Social Media Programs on Cross-Cultural Adaptation of Arab Gulf States’ Students in Australian Universities'

Aim: to evaluate and to more fully understand the impact of social media programs, developed by Arab Gulf States Cultural Missions, to support their young citizens who are studying in Australian universities.

Method/s:  The project follows a quantitative research design.

Abstract: In recent decades, the internet has played an increasing role in the acculturation processes of immigrants. It offers great potential to support tertiary students who live and study in a foreign country.  A number of communication scholars report the importance of the internet, particularly social media, for cross-cultural adaptation (Wang, Sun, & Haridakis, 2009).  This project seeks to provide empirical insight into the impact of social media programs, developed by Arab Gulf States’ Cultural Missions, to support their young citizens who are studying in Australian universities.

Primary supervisor: Sally Burford

Fawzia Alosaimy

Fawzia Rashdan Alosaimy

'The effects of using Snapchat on family in Saudi Arabia'

Aim: To explore how snap chat program impacts the Saudian family social live and what problems could be caused for each member.

Method/s: Qualitative approach that will be undertaken using case studies, in-depth interviews, and focus groups.

Primary supervisor: Glen Fuller

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

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:  Digital skills, and access to the technology and online network alone are not enough to predict mHealth engagement for diabetes self-management. Individuals with good digital skills but poor self-management regimes are unlikely to adopt mHealth tools. Effective self-management behaviour is a vital element of mHealth engagement, for those that possess the necessary digital skills and network access. Motivation to self-manage, self-efficacy and internality on the multidimensional health locus of control scale are important factors that drive mHealth adoption for the purpose of self-management of type 2 diabetes.

Primary supervisor: Sora Park

Liam Engel

Liam Engel

'An Online Australian Drug Discussion: 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

Chris Kim

Chris Kim

'Facilitating the practice of collective co-production in the context of post-disaster community: perceived barriers, Necessary Conditions and Bridging Social Capital'

Aim: To advance the empirical understanding of the practice of collective co-production in the context of post-disaster community.

Method: Qualitative Case Study, Semi-structured interview, Inductive Approach using a grounded theory method.

Initial findings: A set of necessary condition that facilitates the strong practice of collective co-production. In particular, mutual social trust and social networking among stakeholders as a form of bridging social capital supports the strong practice of collective co-production.

Primary supervisor: Sora Park

Zorana Kostic Photo

Zorana Kostic

'The Case for Public Service Broadcast Television: A Historical and Comparative Analysis between the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) and Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)'

Aim: in support of the continuing role and remit of public service broadcasting into the future.

Method/s:  a historical and comparative analysis.

Initial findings: Growing importance in fulfilling its central remit of informing, educating and entertaining the public to facilitate meaningful participation within democratic systems and traditions.

Primary Supervisor: Kerry McCallum

Nicole Mathison

Nicole Mathison

'An examination of the role of effective knowledge practices stimulating and supporting technological innovation’

Research interests: Research interests include creativity, invention, and innovation in individuals and in cultures. Social and organisational network analysis and the illumination of connections between inventors, creators, innovators, innovation incubators, research and development hubs, and communities. Exploring the role of geography, urban planning, infrastructure and investment in the transition from invention to innovation.

Primary supervisor: Sally Burford

Kieran McGuinness

Kieran McGuinness

'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

Nadrah NadrahNadrah Nadrah

'The Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Professional Teacher Education Program  for English Teachers in University of Bengkulu, Indonesia'

Aims: To provide the readiness of English teachers in the use of ICT, kind of information accesses in using ICT, integrating the use of ICT, and factors which may hinder English teachers in integrating ICT in teaching and learning process in teacher professional education program in University of Bengkulu, Indonesia.

Method: This research will use the combination of qualitative and quantitative approach to collect and to analyze data. The participants of this research will be English teachers who follow professional teacher education program in Indonesia. The data will be collected by questionnaire, open-ended questions, and observation.

Primary supervisor: Sora Park

Anji Perera

'The nexus of water conservation, audience segmentation, and motivation'

Aims: To provide empirical insights into the role of audience segmentation and motivations in water conservation by examining both intrinsic and extrinsic motivational drives.

Method/s:  Semi-structured interviews and online surveys.

There is growing interest among environmental communication researchers in using audience segmentation as a possible strategy to develop effective communications that are targeted and tailored to subgroups of the public who share similar values, beliefs, behaviours, and/or policy preferences. However, limited research has been conducted providing insights into audience segmentation in the domain of water conservation communication research. This project has the potential to provide novel insights on how expressions of distinctive audience segments: attitudes, practices, socio-demographics and motivations interplay in enhancing communication strategy in water conservation.

Primary supervisor:  Sora Park

Shara Ranasinghe

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/s: 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

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

Sonya Sandham

Sonya Sandham

'The art of anecdote: The value of embedding oral storytelling as a communication practice in the workplace'

Aim: to explore the value of oral storytelling as one way of recognising the diverse stakeholder voices and stories circulating in organisations and how these stories and antestories are used to frame a vision of the future. This research also seeks to identify alternatives to current normative internal communication practices, including top-down and linear modes of storytelling.

Method/s: ethnography, thematic network analysis and digital methods for cross-platform analysis.

Initial findings: Voice is a site of tension in organisational communication and the value, and risk, of inviting stakeholder voices in is contested. The role of communication practitioners in configuring the voices and stories that are heard in internal communication will be examined in terms of the perceived social and organisational value of a broader invitation to speak in the workplace.

Primary supervisor: Glen Fuller

Danyi Wang

'Negotiating and integrating sociocultural identities among Chinese immigrants in Australia'

Creative Production: Four short films (documentary), “Four Seasons” (15 mins x 4)

Aim: This thesis examines the migration from China to Australia by producing four short documentaries themed with immigrants at different life stages, and therefore entitling the film as the ‘Four Seasons’.

The project will show different living conditions among Chinese immigrants in Australia, as well as the cultural and ideological conflicts they encounter, focusing on the diversity of experience between different generations. I pay special attention to both female immigrants and the coming of age of second-generation immigrants.

Primary supervisor: Sora Park

PhD Completions

Catherine Page Jeffery: 'Media Technologies of the Family: Parental Anxieties, Practices and Knowledges in the Digital Age' (Graduated October 2019). Primary supervisor Glen Fuller.

Prarawan Senachai: 'The role of Traditional Thai Medicine (TTM) in Thailand' )Graduated October 2019). Primary supervisor Glen Fuller.

Jayan Kurian: 'User-generated content on the Facebook page of Emergency Management Organizations' (Graduated April 2019). Primary Supervisor Mathieu O'Neil.

Teresa Ryan: 'And where she goes: an analysis of leadership models for Indigenous women in Australia' (Graduated Septemeber 2018). Primary supervisor Kerry McCallum.

Jee Young Lee: 'A user-centric digital inclusion framework for a digitalised society: Linking Australia’s digital divide policy and digital exclusion experiences' (Graduated April 2018). Primary supervisor Sora Park.

Temple Uwalaka: 'Mobile internet and democratic governance in Nigeria' (Graduated April 2018). Primary supervisor Jerry Watkins.

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 (Graduated September 2017). Primary supervisor Kerry McCallum.

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.