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Centre for Research on Social Inclusion

Dr Linda J. Graham

BA (MQ), M.Ed (MQ), PhD (QUT)

Senior Lecturer (CoRE) 
ARC Discovery APD Research Fellow


Phone: 61 2 9850 9874
Office:  Rm 902, C3A (Education Dept)


Dr Linda Graham graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Education from Queensland University of Technology in 2007, after receiving the Philosophy in Education Society of Australasia (PESA) PhD Scholarship ($10,000) and the QUT Postgraduate Research Award ($19,231 pa) from 2005-2007.

Her thesis, Schooling Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders: educational systems of formation and the behaviourally disordered school child, was awarded the QUT Outstanding Thesis Award for 2007, and the Australian Association for Educational Research (AARE) Excellence in Doctoral Research Award for 2008.

In March 2007, Dr Graham was appointed as a postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Education & Social Work at The University of Sydney, where she began to investigate the relationship between student support funding and the diagnosis of disability under the expert mentorship of Honorary Professor Tony Vinson (AO; Social Inclusion Board; Chair, 2001 Inquiry into Public Education in New South Wales).

In October 2008, Dr Graham was the first ever in Education to be awarded one of 6 Macquarie University Research Fellowships (MURF). These are highly competitive with a success rate of less than 5%. Just 12 months later, Linda (as sole CI) was awarded an ARC Discovery Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2010-2012) to support her research on the increase in diagnosis of disability in New South Wales government schools.

Given her research interests and expertise, in January 2010, Linda was then offered a research-intensive CORE appointment based in the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion (CRSI) in the Faculty of Arts, affiliated with and hosted by the School of Education in the Faculty of Human Sciences, Macquarie University.

Since her CORE appointment in 2010, Linda has led a successful all-ECR team (with Dr Penny Van Bergen from Education, and Dr Naomi Sweller from Psychology) to win a second ARC Discovery grant (2011-2013) to investigate the experiences of students who have been referred to special schools for challenging behaviour.

She has also established a collaborative link between CRSI and the Centre for Research in Education, Inclusion and Diversity (CREID) at the University of Edinburgh through joint supervision of her iMQRES doctoral student, Ms Jessica Chong; Macquarie's first Joint PhD student with The University of Edinburgh. From 2011, Ms Chong will be co-supervised by Professor Sheila Riddell, Research Chair & CREID Centre Director.

Although she already has an international profile for her work on ADHD, Dr Graham's most recent research on the diagnosis of disability in schools has had a profound impact. Even before emerging in print, her work has informed government policy through the 2009 Review of Special Education in the ACT, the 2010 NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the Provision of Education to Children with Disabilities and Special Needs, and in submissions tabled by the NSW Teachers Federation and Australian Education Union.

As a result of this work, Dr Graham was invited to serve on the 2010 Expert Advisory Panel chaired by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) to advise state and federal governments on the development of a nationally consistent approach to defining and supporting students with a disability.

She has 32 scholarly publications, including: 1 book, 6 book chapters (3 appearing in international readers/handbooks), 5 refereed conference papers, and 20 peer-refereed journal articles in the most prestigious journals relating to her field of research (all but one are in journals ranked as A-A*).

Research Interests

  • inclusive education;
  • student segregation, suspension and exclusion;
  • educational processes relating to identification and diagnosis of special educational needs;
  • medicalization of child behaviour;
  • education policy;
  • sociology of education;
  • continental and political philosophy,
  • qualitative and mixed-method research methodologies.

Current Research Projects

MQ Linkage Project Seeding Grant: 2011-2012 ($9683).  iPadding transition to high school: using smart technology to support students' memory and organisation

Dr Linda Graham (CRSI/Education), Dr Matt Bower (Education), Dr Penny Van Bergen (Education)

New South Wales government school students are provided a curriculum that is of world-class standard, yet there remains a noticeable decline in student engagement during the middle years of schooling, which contributes to an unacceptably low Year 12 completion rate. The Year 6/7 transition is a known trouble-zone; particularly for students with attentional difficulties and other weaknesses in executive function, including concentration, working memory, planning and organisation. While public health statistics indicate a steep increase in the prescription of psychostimulant medications to children aged 9-14 years, young people self-report a strong desire for other ways to cope with educational demands. Indeed, a significant limitation of medication is that it cannot teach a student how to work through and overcome cognitive weaknesses. This project will determine how iPads with "smart" technology in schools can provide a non-medicinal means to help buffer such students through some of the most difficult years of high school.

DP1093020: 2010-2012 ($270,546).  A critical analysis of the increase in diagnosis of special educational needs in New South Wales government schools

Dr Linda Graham (CRSI/Education)

This ARC Discovery project seeks to investigate and analyse increases in the diagnosis of disability in the New South Wales government school sector. Trends in student categorisation and placement will be mapped against policy shifts to deepen understanding of factors that influence the identification of disability in schools. Secondary data sources will be supplemented by empirical research in schools to examine the deployment and use of special education support funding in NSW. The aim is to understand what differences exist between policy and practice, what might be happening in-between and why.

DP110103093: 2011-2013 ($110,000). Tracking the experiences of students enrolled in segregated settings for challenging behaviour and their reintegration to mainstream schools

Dr Linda Graham (CRSI/Education), Dr Penny Van Bergen (Education) & Dr Naomi Sweller (Psychology)

The fundamental aim of this ARC Discovery project is to understand the experiences of and effects upon students who have been referred to special schools for challenging behaviour. Drawing on a mixed-methods research design, this multidisciplinary team will (i) document how such interventions take form and the ways in which these are perceived by students and school personnel; (ii) trace student memories of their prior schooling experience and what connection, if any, these students make between these experiences and where they are now; (iii) track changes in student attitudes, beliefs and behaviour during and after their enrolment in special schools; and (iv) observe and analyse student re-integration to regular schooling to understand what events lead to positive and negative experiences.

Past Research Projects

2009-2010:       The political economy of special educational needs: a comparative analysis of international trends and policy developments. Macquarie University Research Fellowship ($256,000).

2007- present:   Analysing the current state and change of special education in New South Wales, Finland and Alberta. With Professor Markku Jahnukainen, University of Alberta/ University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). ($100,358 AUD).

2007-2009:       From Vision to Reality: views of primary school principals on inclusive education in New South Wales. With Dr Ilektra Spandagou, Faculty of Education & Social Work, The University of Sydney.


Scholarly Books

Graham, L.J. (Ed), (2010). (De)Constructing ADHD: A critical guide for teachers and teacher educators. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

Scholarly Book Chapters

Graham, L.J. (2010), Teaching ADHD? Chapter 1 in Graham, LJ. (Ed). (De)Constructing ADHD: Critical guidance for teachers and teacher educators. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, pp. 1-19.

Graham, L.J. (2010), Thinking Pedagogically, Chapter 11 in Graham, LJ. (Ed). (De)Constructing ADHD: Critical guidance for teachers and teacher educators. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, pp. 205-220.

Graham, L.J. (2009). The Special Branch: Governing mentalities through alternative-site placement, in Governmentality Studies in Education, Handbook in Social Contexts of Education, Michael Peters & Tina Besley (Eds.) Sense Publishing: Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Graham, L.J. (in press, accepted August 2008). The Cost of Opportunity, in James D. Marshall & Lynda Stone (Eds.), The Poststructuralism in Education Handbook, Sense Publishing: Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Graham, L.J. & Slee, R. (2008).  Inclusion? Chapter 6, In Gabel, S. L., & Danforth, S. (Eds) Disability and the politics of education: An international reader. New York:  Peter Lang.

Graham, L.J. (2006).  Done in by discourse... or the problem/s with labelling, Ch. 4 in: M. Keeffe and S. Carrington, Schools and Diversity.  2nd Edition.  (Sydney, Pearson Education).

Scholarly Journal Articles

Graham, L.J. & Sweller, N (in press, accepted Nov 09). The Inclusion Lottery: who's in and who's out? Tracking inclusion and exclusion in New South Wales government schools, International Journal of Inclusive Education.

Graham, L.J. (in press, accepted Feb 09). The Product of Text and "Other" Statements: discourse analysis and the critical use of Foucault.  Educational Philosophy & Theory: Special Issue - The Power In/Of Language (Co-editors: L.J. Graham and D. Cole).

Graham, L.J. & Jahnukainen, M., (2011). Wherefore art thou, Inclusion? Analysing the development of inclusive education in New South Wales, Alberta & Finland, Journal of Education Policy, 26(2), 261-286.

Graham, L.J. & Spandagou, I. (2011). From Vision to Reality: views of primary school principals on inclusive education, Disability & Society. 26(02), pp. 223-237.

Graham, L.J. & Harwood, V. (2011) Building capabilities for social inclusion: engaging diversity through inclusive school communities, International Journal of Inclusive Education. 15(1), pp. 135-152.

Graham, L.J., Sweller, N., & Van Bergen, P. (2010). Detaining the Usual Suspects: charting the use of segregated settings in New South Wales government schools. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 11(3), 234-248.

Graham, L.J. (2008). Rank and File: Assessing Research Excellence in Australia. Educational Philosophy & Theory, 40(7), pp. 811-815.

Graham, L.J. & Grieshaber, S. (2008). Reading "Disability": Interrogating Paradigms in a Prism of Power.  Disability & Society. 23(6), pp. 557-570.

Graham, L.J. (2008). Child Rearing Inc? On the Perils of Political Paralysis Down Under. Educational Philosophy & Theory. 40(6), pp. 739-746.

Graham, L.J. (2008). Countering the ADHD epidemic: A question of ethics?  Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 8(2), pp. 166-169.

Graham, L.J. & Slee, R. (2008). An Illusory Interiority: interrogating the discourse/s of inclusion.  Educational Philosophy and Theory, 40(2), pp. 247-260.

Graham, L.J. (2008).  From ABCs to ADHD: the role of schooling in the construction of behaviour disorder and the production of disorderly objects.  International Journal of Inclusive Education: Special Issue - ADHD and Schooling, 12(1), pp. 1-27.

Graham, L.J. (2008).  Drugs, labels and (p)ill-fitting boxes: ADHD and children who are hard to teach.  Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, 29(1), pp. 85-106.

Graham, L.J. (2007). Towards Equity in the Futures Market: curriculum as a condition of access. Policy Futures in Education, 5(4), pp. 535-555.

Graham, L.J. (2007).  Out of sight, out of mind/Out of mind, out of site: Schooling and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. 20(5), pp. 585-602.

Graham, L.J. (2007).  Speaking of 'disorderly' objects: a poetics of pedagogical discourse.  Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, 28(1), pp. 1-20.

Graham, L.J. (2007). (Re)Visioning the Centre: education reform and the "ideal" citizen of the future.  Educational Philosophy & Theory, 39(2), pp. 197-215.

Graham, L.J. (2006). Caught in the Net: a Foucaultian interrogation of the incidental effects of limited notions of inclusion.  International Journal of Inclusive Education.  10(1), pp. 3- 24.

Refereed Conference Papers

Graham, L.J. (2009). The Cost of Opportunity, Philosophy in Education Society of Australasia 2009 Annual Conference, Hawaii, 3th-6th December

Graham, L.J. (2007). (Neo)Liberal Doses of In/Equality: Advance Australia Where? Philosophy in Education Society of Australasia 2007 Annual Conference, Wellington, 6th-9th December

Graham, L.J. (2005). (Re)Visioning the Centre: Queensland's quest for the cosmopolitan child, in Conference Proceedings for the Philosophy in Education Society of Australasia 2005 Annual Conference, Hong Kong, 24-27th November

Guest Editorships

(2011) Special Issue on "The Problems In/Of Language" an international journal issue dedicated to discursive strategies relating to marginalisation and resistance in Educational Philosophy and Theory.

(2008) Special issue on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder for the International Journal of Inclusive Education, Vol. 12, Issue 1

Non-refereed Publications

Graham, L.J. (2010). Rehousing the Canaries, Education Review, October, pp. 12-13.

Graham, L.J. (2009). Look out for the Tip of the Iceberg, Education Review, September, pp. 10-11.

Graham, L.J. (2008). Editorial: ADHD & Schooling: looking for better ways forward.  International Journal of Inclusive Education: Special Issue - ADHD and Schooling, 12(1), pp. 1-6.

Awards and Prizes

2011 Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research
2011 Macquarie University Early Career Researcher of the Year
2010 Finalist, Highly Commended Early Career Researcher of the Year, Macquarie University Research Awards
2008 National Award for Excellence in Doctoral Research, Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
2007 Queensland University of Technology, Faculty of Education Outstanding Thesis Award ($1,500)
2006 Philosophy in Education Society of Australasia (PESA) PhD Scholarship ($10,000)
2006 Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Postgraduate Travel Award
2006 Queensland University of Technology Postgraduate Research Award (QUTPRA) PhD Scholarship ($19,231p.a)

Teaching & Supervision

Linda has taught since 2005 in the sociology of education, curriculum studies, inclusive education and research methods at Queensland University of Technology and The University of Sydney. Since joining Macquarie University in 2009, she has given guest lectures in SOC180: Sociology of Everyday Life, EDUC106: Education - the Social & Historical Context; and EDUC107: Introduction to Educational Studies.

She currently supervises: Ms Jessica Chong (iMQRES) who is conducting an international comparative analysis of the effects of dominant educational discourses on the conceptualisation and delivery of inclusive education in NSW, Finland, Scotland and Malaysia; Ms Rosemary Dunn (MQRES) who is examining school choice for parents of children with a disability and/or challenging behaviour; Ms Natal'ya Shcherbak (MQRES) who is investigating the concept of agency freedom with respect to the professional career choices of high school students in New South Wales; Ms Eli Granite (MQRES) who is conducting a multi-case case study analysis of the NSW government behaviour school model; and Ms Tahni Coghlan (M.Ed) who is researching the improvement of educational support for students with autism in developing countries through family centred, capacity building models.  

Professional Societies and Editorial Boards

Member, Australian Association for Research in Education

Member, Disability Studies in Education Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Editorial panel: International Journal of Inclusive Education, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Australasian Journal of Special Education


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