Dr Jenny Povey

Snr Research Fellow Social Methods

Institute for Social Science Research
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+61 7 334 67474


Jenny Povey is a Research Group Leader at the Institute for Social Science Research, and an Associate Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence on Families and Children over the Life Course (the Life Course Centre) at The University of Queensland. She is a Psychologist and obtained her BA Honors, MA and PhD from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa. Before coming to ISSR, Jenny worked as a Chief Researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa in the area of Education effectiveness.

At ISSR Jenny's research group focuses on understanding social and educational disadvantage to achieve impact on policy and practice. Within this broad theme of work, she has a program of work that focusses school leadership, school culture, parent engagement, child well-being, and a range of other policy relevant issues that relate to social disadvantage. She has extensive experience in mixed methods research using administrative data together with survey and qualitative data. Jenny has worked closely with Government Departments and Ministries both in Australia (e.g. Tasmania DHHS; Australian DET; Qld DET; CESE NSW; Australian DSS; Qld DCSYW) and internationally (e.g. South Africa, Eritrea, Cambodia and the Solomon Islands) to gather research evidence from a wide range of disadvantaged communities to inform policy. In addition to managing the Try, Test and Learn Evaluation, she is currently working on understanding why and how some schools are more effective at parent engagement than others and how improving parent engagement in socially disadvantaged schools effects the learning and well-being of students living in these communities over their life course. Jenny is a Chief Investigator on an ARC Linkage project which investigates how Indigenous and non-Indigenous children experience Out-of-Home Care using elicitation methods and a longitudinal qualitative research design to provide evidence to improve service agencies’ understanding of children’s experiences in OOHC and how agencies can best support families, carers and communities to promote the emotional, social and cultural well-being of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in OOHC. This research will improve service provider capability and test Government reform interventions.

In addition to her research activities Jenny provides professional training on collecting and analysing qualitative data, has developed a number of evaluation capability training courses and online toolkits for Government and service providers, and developed a parent engagement toolkit and online course for Australian schools.

Research Interests

  • School leadership
  • School culture
  • Parent engagement
  • Child well-being
  • Intergenerational transfer of education aspirations, values and attitudes
  • Disadvantaged communities
  • Evidenced based policy and practice
  • Cross-cultural research
  • social policy evaluation
  • Psychometrics
  • Innovative methods and techniques
  • Survey methodology
  • Quantitative data analysis methods
  • Qualitative data analysis methods
  • Education effectiveness
  • Mixed methods


  • Bachelor Arts (Honors), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • Master of Arts, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • PhD, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Available Projects

  • This PhD would be part of a larger ARC Linkage project and would require you to apply for a UQ scholarship. If you are interested in this project and want more information, please contact j.povey@uq.edu.au.

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  • Boreham, Paul and Povey, Jenny (2011). Wellbeing in Queensland : Report of the Social Wellbeing Project. Institute for Social Science Research The University of Queensland ABN: 63942 912 684 Brisbane, Qld., Australia: The University of Queensland, Institute for Social Science Research.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • This PhD would be part of a larger ARC Linkage project and would require you to apply for a UQ scholarship. If you are interested in this project and want more information, please contact j.povey@uq.edu.au.