QJER logo 2
[ Contents Vol 6, 1990 ] [ QJER Home ]

Thesis abstracts

This section publishes abstracts from theses in education from Australian tertiary institutions. Abstract information for future editions is welcome. Contributors should forward a copy of their abstract, together with relevant biographic and institutional information to: The Editor, Queensland Researcher, Research Services, Queensland Department of Education, PO Box 33, North Quay, Q 4002.

Title:Entrance to Tertiary Education: Coverage by A Queensland Newspaper 1986-88
Author:Judith Hewton
Degree:Master of Educational Studies
Institution:University of Queensland

The principal aim of this study was to examine the treatment given to the issue of selection of students for tertiary education in Queensland by The Courier-Mail over the three-year period from 1986 to 1988. Both qualitative and quantitative descriptions of the issues involved in tertiary entrance were reported against an outline of the Tertiary Entrance Score system and its context.

A method of content analysis, a mass communication research technique, was adapted and applied to a collection of 154 news items about tertiary entrance issues. Categories were constructed delineating the subject matter of the news items, and the direction, or overall tone, conveyed in the text of each.

The content analysis produced data descriptive of content (the substance of the items), effect (consequences of media treatment for the audience), and intent (purposeful influences of elites seeking control over media content).

The results indicated that most authors of published material were unfavourably disposed towards the subject matter that they were discussing, and, by inference, expressed poor opinions of the present Queensland system. Authors from the journalism elite controlled most of the content about the issue, thereby setting the agenda on tertiary entrance. The public agenda was seen to closely approximate the media agenda on the subject, with little change of either subject matter or disposition occurring over the three years.

The implications of these results for the system of tertiary entrance are that low opinions of the Queensland system of selection for entry to tertiary education may have eroded public confidence to a point where the system is not generally considered acceptable to the general public. Because no satisfactory solutions to the problems communicated by the media were implemented in that time, the system will not be able to justify its perpetuation. Those who believed in the system were not effective in its defence and, the study concludes, may have contributed, by their failure to act, to its ultimate demise.

Title:Short Stories, Long Journeys: Identity Formation, Working Career and the Life Cycle
Author:R. Funnell
Degree:Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Institution:University of Queensland

This thesis is concerned with a theoretical framework in which identity formation and career changes between generations in a family can be explained outside the contemporary approaches of reproduction and mobility theory. In the context of the current trend to place generational changes into macro-structural frameworks, the personal theories which determine how and why one particular persons takes one specific path into their working life and another person moves in a different direction have been ignored. Primarily, this is because the theoretical emphasis has been on how people, collectively, can be placed within structural or socio-economic positions. The issues left unanswered in this approach are those of why some people do not move into the expected location and, how other people transform their social inheritance as they progress through their working lives.

The major theme of this study is that the structuralist analysis employed in contemporary theory cannot explain what determines a particular career choice, and movements within, and out of, a particular occupation. Structural theory is not concerned with the relationships between the formation of personal identity, occupational careers and the changing character of opportunity structures.

The major thesis is that the determinants of a life course are located in the formation of a person's autobiography and the way it is altered to both explain past and present situations and used as a vehicle to plot a course into the future.

It is in how people organise their past, present and future situations that they continually situate themselves within structured conditions and, to various degrees, transform their given social inheritance.

It is maintained that in order to explain how a given set of social conditions are transformed requires a theory that employs both the psychological and the social dimensions of development. The research in this thesis is guided principally by the theory of identity construction, especially concepts which influence how a person's autobiography is achieved and altered.

This study is important because it shows that there is no necessary link between concepts of class and the reasons people employ to organise their own lives.

Please cite as: QIER (1990). Thesis abstracts. Queensland Researcher, 6(2), 52-55. http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/qjer/qr6/thesis-abs-6-2.html

[ Contents Vol 6, 1990 ] [ QJER Home ]
Created 14 Oct 2006. Last revision: 14 Oct 2006.
URL: http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/qjer/qr6/thesis-abs-6-1.html