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HEALTH & HUMAN SCIENCES

Available Postgraduate Projects

We're looking for prospective students
CDU Menzies School of Medicine

We are seeking students to undertake exciting projects in our college! 

With research teams across all disciplines, we offer an abundance of research opportunities for students.

Our staff can provide support for PhD, Master by Research, and honours students in a range of specialisations, ranging from biomedical and clinical sciences, sport and exercise, psychology, and social work. 

We welcome prospective research students to undertake their research journey in those fields with Charles Darwin University.  

Essential information

If you’re interested in a project, please contact the supervisor(s) listed.

If you've been unable to find a project that you are interested in, you can use the researchers portal  to find researchers from related fields.

  • Use one or two keywords to narrow down the list of researchers.
  • Each research profile will indicate if the researcher has the capacity to supervise.

Once you've found a suitable project, you can contact relevant researchers using the CDU directory.

Please see the CDU Research Scholarship page for further information regarding How to Apply for scholarships and key dates for application submissions.

 

Applying creative inquiry to examine self-identity in people with hearing loss

Contact Person: Dr Andrea Simpson

Supervisors: Dr Andrea Simpson

Suitable for: PhD

Project Location: Flexible

Project Summary:
Contextual factors have been recognised as an important component in determining the experience of a person with hearing loss. These factors can act as either barriers or facilitators on the person’s rehabilitation journey. This project develops an Art-based practice-led methodology to explore how hearing loss affects self-identity and self-evaluation. Art can offer a remedy for the experience of isolation that may come with hearing loss – and open new possibilities for thinking about the impact of language in the experience of living with hearing loss. Integrating phenomenological art therapy methods of inquiry into the art making process will enable a deeper reflection on questions of identity.

Project Impact:
Development or adoption of new indicators of health and wellbeing - contributing towards a greater understanding of the experiences of people with hearing loss and how meaning is made in the self-evaluation of hearing rehabilitation.

Caregiver Experiences of Disability

Contact Person: Associate Professor Bea Staley

Supervisors: Associate Professor Bea Staley

Suitable for: PhD

Project Location: CDU Casuarina Campus

Project Summary: 
The aim of this research is to investigate about parent and caregiver experiences of having a child with a disability in Darwin and surrounding areas. This research is interested in the way families navigate the health and educational systems to meet the needs of their child(ren) and the changes that are needed to better support families access services including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This is a longitudinal study and we are in our third round of interview.

Project Impact: 

  • Change in health and education practices for children with disabilities and their families
  • Influence or shaping of relevant legislation
  • Generating new ways of thinking about children and families experiences of disability across the lifespan 
Grammar Assessment Test for English (GATE): The Development of an App to Aid Teaching in Remote Northern Territory Schools

Contact Person: Associate Professor Bea Staley

Supervisors: Associate Professor Bea Staley, Dr Lisa Papatraianou & Dr Leonard Freeman

Suitable for: PhD

Project Location: CDU, Northern Territory

Project Summary: 
Grammar acquisition includes the ability to understand and use Standard Australian English (SAE) grammatical morphemes. These might include regular past tense (-ed), plural (-s) and present tense (-ing). Developing an understanding of the sequence which remote students acquire the morphemes of SAE will support the teaching and learning of English to students in remote schools.

This project to date has included a language assessment of 57 students at a remote Northern Territory Primary School. Data was used to inform teachers of language trends in the school and help support explicit instruction of Standard Australian English grammar.

The next stage of this project would be to develop and trial an app which teachers can use to assess their students’ developmental acquisition of Standard Australian English (SAE) grammar forms. Teaching resources will be created to accompany the screening tool so ultimately teachers are able to both assess students and implement explicit teaching strategies around the targeted SAE grammar.

Project Impact: 

  • Improvement to educational practices and assessment frameworks
  • Changes to education or the school curriculum informed by research
  • Reduced gap in academic attainment for students learning Standard Australian English as an additional language and/or dialect
  • New methods of assessment have been developed that lead to changes in classroom practice
Rural Oral Language and Literacy Project (ROLL)

Contact Person: Associate Professor Bea Staley

Supervisors: Associate Professor Bea Staley, Dr Lisa Papatraianou & Dr Leonard Freeman

Suitable for: PhD

Project Location: CDU Casuarina Campus

Project Summary: 
The Rural Oral Language and Literacy (ROLL) Project is an ongoing collaboration between Charles Darwin University researchers and three rural Northern Territory Primary Skills. The ROLL project focuses on the promotion of oral language skills to help our youngest students develop the skills they need to become confident and creative individuals, as well as successful lifelong learners. Language and literacy underpin contemporary schooling, and students who have more early language and literacy experiences, and stronger language and literacy skills tend to begin formal schooling at an academic advantage over students who have not had these experiences or do not have these early skills. To this end, the link between a child’s early phonological awareness knowledge and success in later reading acquisition is well established. ROLL Researchers are working with educators to provide phonological awareness programs in preschool and Transition classrooms and measuring the change in student skills across the school year.

Project Impact: 

  • New methods of practice have been developed that have led to positive changes in children's phonological awareness skills
  • This research has resulted in changes to the delivery of early literacy experiences in the classroom and notable changes to professional practice of participating educators
  • Evidence of adoption of best practice around early literacy by educators
Aesthetic modifications among health professionals: How do tattoos impact receptivity of social workers?

Contact Person: Dr Timothy Piatkowski

Supervisors: Dr Tim Piatkowski, Dr Steven Roche & Dr Kim Caudwell

Suitable for: Masters by Research

Project Location: CDU

Project Summary: 
This study will explore the attitudes of the end-user on tattoos in the context of social work. The student will recruit and interview a number of stakeholders with the goal of providing insight into how tattooing is perceived by the clients among alcohol and other drug treatment settings. The data will be analysed thematically and form part of the students’ Masters Thesis.

Exploring associations between culture and body image in the context of Australia’s young migrant communities

Contact Person: Dr Timothy Piatkowski

Supervisors: Dr Tim Piatkowski & Dr Daile Rung

Suitable for: Masters by Research

Project Location: CDU/Menzies

Project Summary: 
This investigation will provide insight into how culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds may affect the development of body image anxiety among young people of both genders in Australia. The student will recruit a relevant sample of stakeholders to complete semi-structured interviews around the topic. The data will undergo thematic analysis with the results written up as part of the students Masters thesis. The data from this project may be used in subsequent investigations or form the basis for PhD projects in implementing future wellbeing programs in this area.

Understanding the demand for psychoactive drug treatment services in the Northern Territory

Contact Person: Dr Timothy Piatkowski

Supervisors: Dr Tim Piatkowski & Dr Cassandra Wright

Suitable for: Masters by Research

Project Location: CDU/Menzies

Project Summary: 
This project seeks to elucidate stakeholder viewpoints from across the AOD treatment services system. Exploratory interviews will involve discussion of drug treatment types; pathways into treatment; intersections with treatment referrals from the criminal justice system; and implications of remoteness on treatment accessibility in the Northern Territory. The interview data will be analysed thematically and go on to inform service provision.

Enhancement in the Northern Territory: Are steroids a drug of concern?

Contact Person: Dr Timothy Piatkowski

Supervisors: Dr Tim Piatkowski

Suitable for: Masters by Research

Project Location: CDU

Project Summary: 
Evidence suggests a consistent rise in steroid and performance and image enhancing drug (PIED) use across Australia as a whole. These compounds are associated with increases in strength and muscle mass although come with the possibility of physical and psychological side effects. To date, no research exists regarding the landscape of steroid use in the NT. This exploratory investigation would seek to scope the climate in Darwin and the NT around whether PIEDs such as steroids are a drug of concern – as they have become so in other Australian States.