Research Design

The Aspirations Longitudinal Study is a mixed method, multi-site study with complimentary quantitative and qualitative components. Participants will be students, their parents/carers and teachers from about 86 state schools in New South Wales. Schools will be located in socially, culturally and geographically diverse regions of the state.

Participants will respond to online surveys in each year of the study, allowing the research team to track the development and change of educational and career aspirations over time. Interviews and focus groups will be held with a sub-sample of these participants in 2013 and 2015, allowing further exploration of the trends identified by the survey data. The research team will also analyse NAPLAN and school assessment data to investigate the relationship between aspirations and educational outcomes.

Illustration of the Aspirations Study's longitudinal research design. 

In 2012, student participants will be in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. The diagram above shows how these students will be tracked over the four years of the study, and the research activities conducted in each year.

Research Ethics

The research has been approved by the University's Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC, reference no. H-2012-0276) and by the State Education Research Approval Process (SERAP reference no. 2012188). The HREC and SERAP reference numbers for the pilot study were H-2012-0209 and 2012133 respectively.