Smyth, John and Whitehead, D. (2007) Literacy research methodology that is up to the challenge. Language and Education, 21 (5). pp. 377-386.

This paper outlines the methodological dimensions of the secondary literacy research evaluation that is the focus of this special issue–the New Zealand-based Secondary Schools' Literacy Initiative (SSLI). We argue that these methodological dimensions are an example of the type of contextualised and critical research that might be usefully applied in exploring literacy across the curriculum in other national contexts. A particular concern addressed in the paper is the need to develop a contextualised, rich description of literacy practices in schools, while also addressing a wider policy climate, which is often preoccupied with issues of literacy achievement and, particularly, often-entrenched differential achievement for students across class and ethnicity lines. To achieve this, the researchers adopted a quasi-ethnographic, multi-locale, mixed-methods approach intended to enhance the robustness of the research design and the validity of the results.

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