Projecting student voice by constructing grounded theory

Olivia Johnston, Helen Wildy, Jennifer Shand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Research methods that prioritise student experiences give students a voice and can provide new insights into how teachers’ efforts are experienced by those who receive them—their students. Grounded theory methods can be used to create theory with students to project their voices through a research process that is explained and exemplified in this paper. The process described in this paper was applied to generate grounded theory about secondary school students’ experiences with their teachers’ achievement expectations in the classroom including the data collection, analysis and synthesis methods that draw on classic grounded theory. A substantive group of secondary school students was shadowed across their classes, then interviewed after the observations about their interactions with their teachers that communicated expectations. The main findings of students’ desire to experience trust from their educators are outlined in this article. The research process used provides a model for researchers who want to construct grounded theory with students to create new understandings together. Despite entanglement with issues surrounding power and authenticity, the development of methods for conveying student voice has many benefits, including improving student educational outcomes and fulfilling their human rights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-564
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Early online date7 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


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