News & Events

NCSEHE research project update — Higher education aspirations, participation and achievement of Australian Indigenous males

The NCSEHE conducts an annual Research Grants Program, building an evidence base to improve higher education access and outcomes for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Higher education aspirations, participation and achievement of Australian Indigenous males, led by Professor James Smith (Menzies School of Health Research) and Mr Jesse Fleay (Edith Cowan University), is one of the 15 projects selected in the 2019/20 funding round.


This project examines the nexus between cultural identity and masculinities among Indigenous Australian males to better understand (a) the higher education aspirations of secondary-school age Indigenous males and (b) the critical success factors and influences that have supported Indigenous males, of any age, to thrive and achieve in higher education. This will be a cross-jurisdictional explorative study involving researchers from the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

This explorative study will use a combination of qualitative approaches aligned with a decolonising research methodology to amplify the voices of young Indigenous males throughout the project. First, researchers in each jurisdiction will conduct four yarning sessions with school-aged Indigenous males about their aspirations for further education. Second, investigators in each jurisdiction will compile five vignettes of Indigenous males about their experience of participating in and/or completing higher education. Through these approaches, the research team hopes to build an evidence base about the aspirations of young Indigenous males with respect to higher education. This will help inform the development and implementation of outreach and enabling programs that can be used to increase the higher education participation and completion rates of Indigenous males.

Project activities

At present, the team is preparing for data collection. Participating universities are securing required ethics approvals and recruiting participants for the yarning sessions and vignettes. Yarning sessions are planned to be undertaken in February 2020, with the vignettes filmed, produced and published onto a web-based platform in March 2020. Afterwards, all investigators will attend a two-day coding and analysis workshop to identify success factors specific to young Indigenous males. A project report will then be developed. It is anticipated that a knowledge translation workshop will be held at the conclusion of the study, with three distinct objectives: (1) launch and promote the use of vignettes uploaded on participating university social media platforms, video-sharing platforms and the project web page; (2) publicly release the final report; and (3) discuss the success factors and respective policy and practice strategies identified.

The final reports from the 2019/20 Research Grants Program will be published in 2019/20.

Posted 4 February 2020 Posted in General, Indigenous