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Research Reflections



November 2017

The Use of Social Media
By Dr Sue Bagshaw

There has been much discussion in recent times about the destructive effect of social media on the
development of young people, especially under 15 year olds. This ranges from the dangers of
pornography to the disappearance of the skills of non-verbal communication and the rise of social
phobia. Read more here

September 2017
Considering the Participation and Protection of Young People Taking Part in Research
By Sarah McKay 

The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child recognises children and young people’s citizenship rights. This includes their right to participate in decisions that affect them, including in the development and evaluation of services for them. An ethical issue in research and evaluation that involves young people is enabling their participation in ways that ensures that they do not come to harm. For instance, harm can occur if young people are coerced by adults into taking part in research and evaluation. Read more here.


August 2017

Raising Awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in New Zealand
By Trish Jamieson

September 9th has been recognised as International FASD Awareness Day  Awareness of FASD has been growing since the early 1990s in New Zealand (NZ).  FASD is the result of permanent damage to the central nervous system (including the brain) to the unborn child, when a woman consumes alcohol during pregnancy. Read more here.

June 2017
Home Grown Research: Its Value and How to Know It's Good
By Dr Jane Higgins

The word ‘research’ often conjures up images of overseas experts in academic institutions working with massive data sets and complex theories. While these sorts of studies often produce significant results that are valuable for creating evidence-based policy and practice, it’s important not to miss the great research, often small-scale, that’s done here in our corner of the world. Read more here


May 2017

Creating Closer Communities
By Brenna Russell

“Strong public awareness and participation in matters relating to mental health and well-being” and “increased community well-being” were two key outcomes outlined in the job description for the Community Connector for Rural Ashburton and Selwyn Districts. A role that I have now filled for just over a year. However, creating opportunities that would meet the needs of two very different districts in terms of both need and lifestyle (both districts have a mix of rural and urban living) was a challenge. Read more here.


March 2017

Anne shares her thoughts on The Munro Review of Child Protection from the London Department for Education
By Anne Scott

I wasn’t expecting to have much reading fun when I picked up this report, which is being cited internationally and has made a real splash; most reports are rather dry, and I was reading this one because it relates to the research we’re doing on child custody when parents have mental illnesses or addictions. However, I got a very pleasant surprise. This report makes gripping reading; I could see why it’s so widely quoted! Read Annes thoughts here.



February 2017

How common are common mental disorders?
By Sofie Hampton

The Dunedin Study has had a considerable amount of media coverage in the last year, including a television series titled “Why am I ?”. This study is famous because it tracks the lives of just over 1,000 people born in Dunedin during 1972-1973, and it is still continuing 45 years later. I am particularly interested in mental health, so I decided to a search for interesting research in this area that has come from the Dunedin Study. Read the full article here.

November 2016

Collaboration between educators and industry to improve workplace learning

By Adelaide Reid

Ako Aotearoa recently released a report on a National Project Fund project that they have been working on with Downer, Connexis and Primary ITO*. The project aimed to improve the outcomes and retention of apprentices at Downer through establishing mentoring relationships within the organisation. Mentoring had been used previously at Downer but there was no clear mentoring approach and no strategy for working with the local Industry Training Organisation (ITO) staff who deliver training to apprentices. The idea was to align the support provided by ITOs with in-house mentoring in a more deliberate way to improve the support that apprentices received from both organisations. Over 18 months the project established and monitored a collaborative approach to mentoring between ITO staff and Downer employees, who acted as mentors to the apprentices. This approach is now being embedded within the organisation to ensure the development of sustainable mentoring practices at DownerRead the full article here.



October 2016

A healthier world? Individual responsibility within a global initiative' By Anneke Beardsley

"I was interested to find out more about how youth had been involved in the process of establishing these goals, and I came across the article Facilitating health and wellbeing is “everybody’s role”: youth perspectives from Vanuatu on health and the post-2015 sustainable development goal agenda. The authors make the case that it is imperative that the viewpoints of vulnerable or marginalised populations, in regard to their own health needs, are captured and included in debates about the SDGs..."  Read the full article here.


September 2016

The government’s move towards purchasing outcomes: what are we losing? By Sarah McKay

Recent research by the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services outlines the added value that is provided by community based services. It highlights how community based organisations are becoming increasingly marginalized as the government moves towards funding social services through larger organisations and private providers. This is reflected in the governments emphasis on purchasing outcomes and value for money, with less concern about who is delivering those outcomes such as private providers. This research explores an important question; ‘what are we losing when community based organisations have to retrench or are shut down because of a lack of funding?’ Read the full article here.


August 2016

Understanding “the alphabet children”: Supporting twice-exceptional learners. By Louise Tapper

Recently some education professionals have become more aware that there are students in our schools who are both highly able and still have learning or behavioural difficulties. They are twice-exceptional learners. (Note that although twice-exceptional, or 2E, is the accepted term in the literature, many of these young people could be coping with multiple exceptionalities). So a young person who is highly intelligent may yet have a specific learning disability (SLD) such as dyslexia, or be diagnosed with ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This can lead to challenges in both the learning process and in the development of a social identity for these students. Because of the various labels that such students might be saddled with (for example, G&T/ADHD/SLD) they have been called “the alphabet children” (Baum & Olenchak, 2002, p. 77). Read the full article here.


June 2016

Growing up with a parent who has mental illness - By Kelly Pope

'Something that has struck me, three weeks into the job, is how many of the children and teens we get to spend time with are such bubbly, happy, easy going, well-rounded kids. This personal experience has stood out as a bright light against the backdrop of much of the research which takes a deficits approach to children whose parents have mental illness, looking particularly at the issues that can occur in parent-child attachment, the family discord that children can be exposed to, and their own vulnerability to developing mental health issues later in life. Also in this bleak background are low rates of mental health services acknowledging people’s roles as parents, and concerning statistics around the disproportional child custody issues faced by parents with mental illness which a current research project in Canterbury aims to explore and address'. Read the full article here.



May 2016

Gaming addiction; a lonely place - By Michael Hempseed

'Over the past few months I have seen more and more young people with gaming addiction. As a youth worker my role involves making an initial assessment then navigating a young person to the right service. I am having more and more trouble finding help for these young people. I lied in my first sentence, I haven’t seen very many young people with gaming addiction, I have had contact with their parents and teachers as they are usually house bound. ...' Read the full article here.


April 2016

Youth Participation in Service Development - By Melanie Atkinson

'I want to discuss the idea of youth consultation and participation in relation to the establishment of a new service in Christchurch (Arahina ki Otautahi) for children and young people in the care of Child, Youth and Family who are not engaged in education or training.
In managing the establishment of this service over the past two years I have looked at ways for it to be shaped by the voice of children and young people. While there is New Zealand literature which has captured the views and experiences of young people who are in care and also young people who are disengaged in education, I wanted the formation of this project to incorporate a youth participatory approach...' Read the full article here.




January 2016

Starting School in Shaky Town – the Canterbury earthquakes and their continued impact on children - by Fi Rice.

'As a parent of a child born in September 2010 I am especially interested in emerging research around the effects of quakes on children. Many parents could easily assume that their very young children may not have been old enough to be aware of or affected by the events surrounding Canterbury’s recent natural disaster. But it was not just one event – the region’s communities lived through a series of serious quake events spanning around eighteen months, with the additional impact of ongoing insurance and repair issues. For many families the tangible effects of the quakes are still very much present in their lives, particularly in the eastern suburbs..' Read the full article here.' 




December 2015

Advice for Parents on Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour in Young People: Like Searching for a Needle in a Hay Stack - by Sarah Wylie.

'As the parent of teenagers, I had the experience several years ago of my son losing a close friend to suicide. For our family, this came out of the blue as our worst nightmare. Within the space of a few short hours we moved from travelling away on a weekend holiday to we, as parents, sitting outside an interview room at the Police station while our son was interviewed. Read the full article here.' 



November 2015

Why We Need to Move Towards Youth Centred Services - by Sarah McKay.

'The government has indicated that young people who are disengaged from education and employment will be an increasing priority for them. If they are serious about this they need to take a lead in policy and funding towards an approach that addresses the resources needed to provide holistic services that place the wellbeing of young people at the centre of the programmes that we provide for them.' Read the full article here.



September 2015

Te Kooti Rangatahi: The Way Forward For Maori Youth Offending by Cathy Cooper.

'Te Kooti Rangatahi works within the contemporary legal context however is marae-based and utilises tikanga Maori. It is an option available to all Maori aged 14-16 years appearing in the regular Youth Court and allows those who admit the charges they are facing to have their court matters heard on the marae. The goal of Te Kooti Rangatahi is to reduce reoffending, and to provide rehabilitation, by encouraging strong cultural links and participation of whānau, hapū and iwi in the youth justice process....' Read the full article here.


August 2015

Research Reflection: Adolescents Crafting Identities After A Period Of Time Outside Education, Training And Employment. Jane Higgins.

Jane Higgins (PhD) has worked in youth transitions research since the early 1990s, most recently as a senior research fellow at Lincoln University.
Read Jane's reflection on her own research (published in 2012- access the full report here) interviewing young people who had left school with low or no qualifications and how those young people actively crafted their identities as adolescents.... access the full reflection article here.


July 2015

New means better and the latest research always trumps that old research… right?
Andrew (Maps) Curtis

“The view of addiction from Rat Park is that today’s flood of addiction is occurring because our fragmented, mobile, ever-changing modern society has produced social and cultural isolation, even though the cage is invisible. Chronic isolation causes people to look for relief. They find temporary relief in addiction to drugs or any of a thousand other habits and pursuits because addiction allows them to escape from their feelings, to deaden their senses, and to experience an addictive lifestyle as a substitute for a full life.”

Read reflection here


Original Article: Alexander BK, Beyerstein BL, Hadaway PF, Coambs RB. Effect of early and later colony housing on oral ingestion of morphine in rats. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior. 1981;15(4):571-6. Pdf available here


June 2015

Socioeconomic inequality and giftedness: Suppression and distortion of high ability.
Louise Tapper

'Children who lack resources such as education and good nutrition do not have the same lofty aspirations as children who are not deprived in this way. Ambrose describes this as “socioeconomic barriers to aspiration discovery and talent development”.


Read the reflection here

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