Dr Margaret Merga
PhD; MEd; GradDipEd; BA (Hons)

Lecturer in Education

About me

I am a Senior Lecturer at Murdoch University. I am keenly interested in the social influences on literacy acquisition and the position of reading and books in the contemporary world. My research findings in literacy have led to a broader understanding of the role that teachers and parents can play in supporting children, teenagers and adults to become life-long readers. I have also published findings in a range of related areas, such as Sustained Silent Reading, preferred modes of reading, peer influences on reading, etc.

I have also substantially contributed to educational initiatives in the area of health promotion through both publication of research and curriculum design, and I have worked with the Western Australian Department of Health to investigate graduate work readiness of early career health professionals.

At Murdoch I coordinate and lecture across a wide range of literacy units in both secondary and primary education. I have also taught curriculum construction, integrated curriculum and professional experience units.

Teaching area

In my current work role, I do/did:

  • Unit coordination (with unit revision or design) for English and the Curriculum (EDN313, 372 & 413), Teaching English in Secondary Schools (EDN553), Curriculum Development for Practitioners (EDN588), the Integrated Curriculum in Primary Schools (EDN613), MTeach Professional Internship A (EDN611), Transition to Teaching (EDN5501), English in the Primary Curriculum (EDN565), Language for Learning and Teaching (EDN111).

Research areas

 

I have published in peer-reviewed journals in literacy, education, health promotion, workforce education and higher education. Previous substantial research projects have included the following:

  • 2012-2014 Australian Postgraduate Award, The West Australian Study in Adolescent Book Reading, CI Margaret Merga, $23,728 per annum for 3 years

The range of current projects that I am currently involved in is listed under “Current Projects”.

 

Current projects

2015-2016 Murdoch University School of Education Strategic Funding, CI Margaret Merga, International Study of Avid Book Readers, $4000 for 12 months

2015-2017 Ian Potter Foundation Grant, CI Margaret Merga, Social Influences on Recreational Book Reading in Primary School (also known as the Western Australian Study in Children’s Book Reading (WASCBR)), $10,000 for 2 years

2015-2017 Central Research Grants Scheme (CRGS) (Deakin University Internal Grant) and Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, CI’s Leonie Rutherford and Katya Johanson, External Investigator Margaret Merga, Teen Reading in the Digital Era: Platforms, Access and Diversity, $19,222 for 1 year.

2016-2017 Collier Foundation Grant, CI’s Margaret Merga & Susan Ledger, For the Love of Reading: Exploring Barriers to Allowing Time for Reading Aloud, $25,000 for 2 years.

Awards and grants

GRANTS/FUNDING APPLICATIONS AWARDED

2012-2014 Australian Postgraduate Award, The West Australian Study in Adolescent Book Reading, CI Margaret Merga, $23,728 per annum for 3 years

2015-2016 Murdoch University School of Education Strategic Funding, CI Margaret Merga, International Study of Avid Book Readers, $4000 for 12 months.

2015-2017 Ian Potter Foundation Grant, CI Margaret Merga, Social Influences on Recreational Book Reading in Primary School, $10,000 for 2 years

2015-2017 Central Research Grants Scheme (CRGS) (Deakin University Internal Grant), CI Leonie Rutherford, External Investigator Margaret Merga, Teen Reading in the Digital Era: Platforms, Access and Diversity, $19,222 for 1 year.

2016-2017 Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. CI’s Leonie Rutherford & Katya Johanson, External Investigator Margaret Merga, Teen Reading in the Digital Era: Platforms, Access and Diversity, $20,000 for 1 year.

2016-2017 Collier Foundation Grant, CI’s Margaret Merga & Susan Ledger, For the Love of Reading: Exploring Barriers to Allowing Time for Reading Aloud, $25,000 for 2 years.

Events and speaking engagements

RECENT CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS

Merga, M.K. (2016). Encouraging your students to read more books: Insights from the      International Study of Avid Book Readers. Weaving Worlds with Words and Wonder:          AATE/ALEA Joint National Conference, Adelaide Convention Centre 7-10 July 2016.

Merga, M.K. (2015). What is our role in mitigating health risk from increasing screen time in  schools and at home? Keynote presentation. The Australian Council for Health, Physical  Education and Recreation, 2015 State Conference, Edith Cowan University, Mount Lawley, Western Australia 24th November, 2015.

Merga, M.K. (2015). Supporting recreational book reading in adolescents: What you can do. Thirteenth International Conference on Book, Publishing and Libraries, University of      British Columbia, Vancouver 19-20th October, 2015.

Merga, M.K. (2015). Thesis by publication in education: Joining the conversation early.     Education Research: Past, Present and Future, Western Australian Institute for             Education Research 30th Annual Research Forum, Notre Dame University 8 August             2015.

Merga, M.K. (2015). What schools can do to support adolescent recreational book reading. Blurring Boundaries: ETAWA State Conference, Trinity College, East Perth 9th May,  2015.

Merga, M.K. (2013). “She knows what I like”: Student-generated best-practice statements from the West Australian Study in Adolescent Recreational Book Reading. Brave New World: AATE/ALEA Joint National Conference, QUT Brisbane 4-7 July 2013.

Merga, M.K. (2013). Can we influence teens to read more books? Research Journeys in   Education: Postgraduate Research Colloquium 2012, Edith Cowan University, Mt             Lawley, 20th September 2013.

Merga, M.K. (2012). Social influences on West Australian adolescents’ recreational book  reading. Research Journeys in Education: Postgraduate Research Colloqiuim 2012,           Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, 21st September 2012.

OTHER PAPER PRESENTATION ENGAGEMENTS

Merga M.K. Thesis by Publication in Education. Presented by invitation at the PhD by       Publication Think Tank, Deakin University Waterfront Campus, Geelong 2 December,          2015.

Merga M.K. How can schools and parents support adolescent recreational book reading? Presented by invitation to the joint research centres (Media and Publics, Literature and Performance and the Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation). Melbourne Corporate Centre, Deakin University, Melbourne 4 December, 2015.

RADIO AND TELEVISION

2SER. (2015. August 18). Should children bring their own devices to school? Radio interview produced by Simone O’Halloran on The Daily.  Retrieved from             http://www.2ser.com/component/k2/item/17442-should-children-bring-their-own-            devices-to-school

6PR. (2015. June 23). Why the pleasure of reading is being forgotten. Radio interview with Peter Bell on 6PR Afternoons with Peter Bell. Retrieved from             http://www.6pr.com.au/news/why-the-pleasure-of-reading-is-being-forgotten-20150623-  ghvh0f.html

ABC (2015. October 3). “The Vertical Schools of the Future”. Australia Wide. Provided expert  opinion. Retrieved from http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/australiawide/NC1579H027S00#playing

ABC Radio Darwin. (2015. June 24) Interview with Dr Margaret Merga. Radio interview with Lorna Perry on Afternoons with Lorna Perry.

ABC720 (2015. December 17) Interview with Dr Margaret Merga. Radio interview with Jamie Burnett on Drive with Jamie Burnett.

Lietz, P. (Ed). (2015) Australian Journal of Education Video Interview- Dr Margaret Merga.   Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/122481634

McDonald, H. (2015, December 9). “Brain Drain”—effects of not reading over summer.      Segment on Today Tonight, Channel 7 (provided expert opinion).

 

Professional and community service

PROFESSIONAL/RESEARCH ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP 2016

Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation

American Educational Research Association

English Teacher’s Association of Western Australia

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

International Literacy Association

International Board on Books for Young People

Primary English Teaching Association Australia

Society for the Scientific Study of Reading

The Western Australian School Library Association

Western Australian Institute for Educational Research

EDITORIAL AND REVIEWING ROLES

Editorial Review Board member for the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy (Volumes 59 & 60)

Reviewer for The International Journal of the Book, the Journal of Research in Reading, High Ability Studies, Computers and Education and the Journal of Research in Childhood Education.

OTHER SIGNIFICANT ROLES

Judge for the 2017-2018 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Children’s Book of the Year Awards

Doctoral and masters supervisions

Associate Supervisor (20%), PhD. Kashiraj Pandey, Critical literacy in English language teaching in Nepal (In progress)

Co-Supervisor (50%), MEd. Rebecca Dahlstrom

Principal Supervisor (70%), MEd. Jane Ward

Principal Supervisor (70%), MEd. Brett Healey

Publications

PEER-REVIEWED ACADEMIC JOURNAL ARTICLES

In Reading and English Teaching Research

Merga, M.K. (2013). Should Silent Reading feature in a secondary school English programme? West Australian students’ perspectives on Silent Reading. English in Education, 47(3), 229-244.

Merga, M.K. (2014). Peer Group and Friend Influences on the Social Acceptability of Adolescent Book Reading. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 57(6), 472-482.

Merga, M.K. (2014). Exploring the role of parents in supporting recreational book reading  beyond primary school. English in Education, 48(2), 149-163.

Merga, M.K. (2014). Western Australian adolescents’ reasons for infrequent engagement in recreational book reading. Literacy Learning: the Middle Years. 22(2), 60-66.

Merga, M.K. (2014) Are teenagers really keen digital readers? Adolescent engagement in  eBook reading and the relevance of paper books today. English in Australia. 49(1), 27-37.

Merga, M.K. (2014). Are Western Australian adolescents keen book readers? Australian   Journal of Language and Literacy. 37(3), 161-170.

Merga, M.K. (2014). What would make them read more? Insights from Western Australian adolescent readers. Asia Pacific Journal of Education. E-Published ahead of print.

Merga, M.K. (2015). ‘She knows what I like’: Student-generated best-practice statements  for encouraging recreational reading in adolescents. Australian Journal of Education 59(1), 35-50.

Merga, M.K. (2015). Are avid adolescent readers social networking about books? New Review of Children’s Literature and Librarianship. 21(1), 1-16.

Merga, M.K. (2015). Access to books in the home and adolescent engagement in recreational book reading: Considerations for secondary school educators. English in Education.  E-Published ahead of print.

Merga, M.K. (2015). Do adolescents prefer electronic books to paper books? Publications. 2015, 3, 237-247

Merga, M.K. (2015). Supporting recreational book reading in adolescents. The International Journal of the Book. 14(1), 1-14.

Merga, M.K. & Moon, B. (2016). The impact of social influences on high school students’  recreational reading. The High School Journal, 99(2), 122-140.

Merga, M. K. (2016). Meeting the Needs of Avid Book Readers: Access, Space, Concentration Support and Barrier Mitigation. Journal of Library Administration, 1-20.

Merga, M.K. (2016). ““I don’t know if she likes reading”: Are teachers perceived to be keen readers, and how is this determined?” English in Education. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eie.12126/abstract

Merga, M.K. & Booth, S. (2017). Investigating debates around racism in sport to facilitate perspective transformation in the secondary English classroom. Journal of Transformative Education, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1541344617692773

Merga, M.K. (2017). Do males really prefer non-fiction, and why does it matter? English in  Australia, 52(1), 27-37.

Merga, M.K. & Mat Roni, S. (2017). The influence of access to eReaders, computers and mobile phones on children’s book reading frequency. Computers and Education, 109, pp. 187-196.

Rutherford, L., Waller, L., Merga, M., McRae, M., Bullen, E., Johanson, K. (in press) The    Contours of Teenagers’ Reading in the Digital Era: Scoping the Research. New Review      of Children’s Literature and Librarianship.

Merga, M.K. (in press). What motivates avid readers to maintain a regular reading habit in adulthood? Australian Journal of Language and Literacy.


In Health Promotion

McManus A, Merga M.K., Newton W, Trzsenski A. (2010). Seafood: nutritional gold for     seniors. Australasian Medical Journal, 3(13), 855-859.

McManus A., Merga M.K., Newton W. (2011). What consumers need to know about omega 3 fatty acids. Appetite, 57(1), 80-83.

Merga, M.K. (2015). ‘Bring Your Own Device’: Considering potential risks to student health. Health Education Journal. E-Published ahead of print.

Merga, M.K. & Hu, Q.M. (2016) Health education beyond school boundaries: Use of school newsletters to communicate health messages to parents. Australian Journal of Education.E-Published ahead of print.

Merga, M.K. & Williams, R. (2016). The role of health educators in mitigating health risk    from increasing screen time in schools and at home. Asia-Pacific Journal of Health,        Sport & Physical Education. 7(2), 157-172.

In Higher Education

Merga, M.K. (2015). Thesis by publication in education: An autoethnographic perspective for educational researchers. Issues in Educational Research. 25(2), 291-308.

Booth, S., Merga, M.K., & Mat Roni, S. (2016). Peer-mentors reflect on the benefits of mentoring: An autoethography. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 11, 383-402. Retrieved from  http://www.informingscience.org/Publications/3603

In Health Workforce Reform and Education

Merga, M.K. (2016). Gaps in the graduate work readiness of health professionals and their impact on early practice: Possibilities for future interprofessional learning. Focus on     Health Professional Education, 17(3), 14-29.

NON-PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS

Merga, M.K. (2014). Seven Findings from the West Australian Study in Adolescent Book    Reading. ETANotes, Term 4, 2014, 4-6.

Merga, M.K. (2015). How to get teenagers to read. The Conversation.  Retrieved from      https://theconversation.com/how-to-get-teenagers-to-read-42757

Merga, M.K. (2015). Devices in schools and at home means too much screen time for kids. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/devices-in-schools-and-at-home-means-too- much-screen-time-for-kids-45709

Merga, M.K. & Mat Roni, S. (2017). Children prefer to read books on paper rather than screens. The  Conversation. Retrieved from  https://theconversation.com/children-prefer-to-read-books-on-paper-rather-than-screens-74171#comment_1234533