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PhD Studentship: Parental engagement in children's reading: The Dolly Parton Imagination Project

University of Bath - Education

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bath
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 16th August 2018
Closes: 17th October 2018

Supervisor name(s): Janet Goodall

Email contact:

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting programme run by The Dollywood Foundation, Dolly Parton’s charity in the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK. The Foundation aims to foster a lifelong love of books and reading and encourage emergent childhood literacy and school readiness. The Foundation works with partners and sponsors across the UK to provide a free, age-appropriate book, every month, to children from birth to five registered with the Imagination Library programme. All books in the programme are from Penguin Random House and are carefully selected by a panel of Early Years experts to ensure the books are appropriate for each developmental level. The Book Selection Panel ensure that different themes and types of book are included (poetry, prose, non-fiction etc) supported by strong illustrations. In the UK, more than 39,000 children are registered across 106 different areas. These include voluntary groups and charities, local authorities, Rotary, individuals and schools and nurseries. 

This research project seeks to understand the impact of the Imagination Library on parents’ practices and beliefs around shared reading, and any discernible impact of the practice of shared reading on the children in receipt of the library’s books. 

Over the three years of this project, the candidate would work with the Imagination Library, to both provide sophisticated statistical analysis of their existing data and to undertake new qualitative and quantitative research. In this process, the candidate will design, test and validate tools for data collection which are specific to the Imagination Library. 

The successful candidate should: 
1. Fulfil the entrance requirements for a Department for Education PhD (
2. Be able to undertake both qualitative and quantitative research; training can be provided 

Applicants should apply online for a full time PhD in Education, quoting the project title on application. Please outline your experience, reasons for applying and provide a brief outline of your initial thoughts on the area of research (max 1000 words). Please do not submit a formal research proposal. 

Preferred start date: 21 January 2019 

Interview dates are to be confirmed.

Jointly funded by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the University of Bath, the award is available for up to 3 years of full time study (subject to continued satisfactory progress) and includes the tuition fee at the Home/EU rate and an annual stipend of £14,777 (2018/19 rate).

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