Rachel Walker

Hello, I am Rachel Walker and I am currently going into 4th year of my Bachelor of Education with Honours at Griffith University. My supervisor for my research thesis is Dr Leonie Rowan and the topic of my research is boys, literacy and schooling1. I would like to describe the journey of my research project thus far and hope that this will help to provide current and future research students with some useful information and readings whilst conducting a research project.

One of the first tasks that were allocated to the honours students was to think about an area of interest that we would like to research. I always knew that this could potentially be one of the most challenging parts of the course as there seemed to be an unlimited choice of research topics. I am interested in literacy, students’ attitudes towards their education and boys’ education (among many others), and it seemed fitting when a local high school approached the university seeking students who would be willing to conduct research on their male mentoring project. The project is called Boys ‘n’ Books and is a male mentoring initiative based on improving the reading ability of boys.

Following this decision it was time to think about methodology, after discussions with peers, my supervisor and reading journal articles I decided to place my research within the transformative paradigm2. I have chosen to conduct my research within this paradigm as it places an emphasis on issues regarding social justice. In order to analysis my data I have chosen to use a feminist post structural3 lens which will allow me to examine the discourses around reading, masculinity and schooling which circulate within the Boys ‘n’ Books program, This lens will also allow me to identify the ways these discourses position boys in relation to ‘engagement’ in school and ‘future’ aspirations. At first I found using a feminist post-structural lens a challenge as it felt like such a large area of research which I felt I knew very little about, however through meeting with my supervisor and finding a selection of scholars who have written about feminism and post structural theory I have gained a better understanding. I have included below a selection of readings which have helped me along the way during my research project and will be of benefit to others research within a similar field.

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