STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
and PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The first doctoral study to be considered here is a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis produced by Jan Gray (Gray 2000). Jan had been awarded a prestigious university prize for the research she did in connection with her MEd degree and subsequently she was awarded a scholarship which funded her for the necessary three years of full-time doctoral research at a Western Australian university. Before and during her MEd programme, she had been a teacher in various secondary schools in Australia, had become keenly interested in patterns of school non-attendance and behaviour and thought she might wish to select school nonattendance as her PhD topic.
She knew from her teaching and life experience that if teenagers don't want to go to school, they won't go and no amount of legislation will make them go. However, compulsory education is the internationally accepted indicator of commitment to the rights of the child and in most Western countries, including Jan's home territory of Western Australia, that commitment is linked to a legal framework designed to enforce school attendance. A new Western Australian Education Bill was being developed at the time she first began to consider how she might plan her research. The Bill followed the usual pattern of defining truancy, and then establishing a legal framework which she described as