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 Dr Libby Schaughency

Tel 64 3 479 5864
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The development of effective practices and interventions is a priority across a range of disciplines - clinical, public health, and education. Although there are standard methods for determining if an intervention is efficacious (can it work?), in recent years some have argued the need to consider other factors when assessing the effectiveness of the intervention (does it work in real life)? Factors that have been raised include translatability, adoption, and public health impact.

Psychology's potential contribution to education and schools recognised

For children, the school context has been identified as a critical mediator in research and practice in children's mental health services. Psychology's potential contribution to education and schools has long been recognised. This role is especially timely during current calls for improved student outcomes. A recurrent lament in both psychology and education, however, is the research-to-practice gap. That is, although research has identified empirically supported behavioural and academic intervention strategies, there exists a gap between research and practice. Two potential contributors to this gap are a failure to attend to the "host" environment in which these practices are to be embedded – ie, the systems of schools -- and limitations in generalisability from efficacy research to the individual case.

The "experimenting society approach" can bridge the gap

One potential framework to bridge this gap is the "experimenting society approach", elucidated by Campbell (1988). Recognising the limitations in generalisability from efficacy research to the individual case, in this model, research-validated effective practices serve as hypotheses to be tested via application in a particular local context (eg, with an individual client or school). Systematic formative evaluation then iteratively and incrementally aids practitioners in finding effective local solutions to local problems.

Investigating methods to promote evidenced-based practice and decision-making

I am interested in investigation of methods to promote evidenced-based practice and decision-making as a means to develop ecologically valid prevention/intervention strategies for improved translatability, adoption, and sustainability with the goal of improved behavioural and academic outcomes for children.


Bird, A., Reese, E., Schaughency, E., Waldie, K., Atatoa-Carr, P., Morton, S., & Grant, C. (2024). Talking, praising and teaching: How parent interaction during a learning task relates to children's early learning. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 66, 255-268. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2023.10.001

McDonald, R.-R., Schaughency, E., Boddie, K., Cameron, T. A., & Carroll, J. L. D. (2023). Contributions of school-entry oral language, early literacy skills, and name writing to writing in the first 2 years of school. Reading & Writing. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s11145-023-10492-6

Reese, E., Kokaua, J., Guiney, H., Bakir-Demir, T., McLauchlan, J., Edgeler, C., Schaughency, E., Taumoepeau, M., Salmon, K., Clifford, A., Maruariki, N., McNaughton, S., … Amjad, S., Trudgen, A., & Poulton, R. (2023). Kia Tīmata Pai (Best Start): A study protocol for a cluster randomised trial with early childhood teachers to support children's oral language and self-regulation development. BMJ Open, 13, e073361. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-073361

Ousset, C., Schaughency, E., Galland, B., & Beanland, V. (2023). Exploring the role of mediators between sleep and risky/inattentive driving in NZ teens. Proceedings of the New Zealand Branch of the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA) Sleep in Aotearoa Annual Scientific Meeting. A3. Retrieved from

Cameron, T. A., Carroll, J. L. D., Taumoepeau, M., & Schaughency, E. (2023). Patterns of early literacy and word reading skill development across the first 6 months of school and reading instruction. School Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/spq0000563

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