Research and Reading

There are many organisations with websites dedicated to the publication and dissemination of research undertaken in the adult and family literacy field. Here are just a few recommended by TCAL, as well as some noteworthy publications to download.

National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA)

Since the 1980s, the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) in Ireland has worked continuously in partnership with government departments, organisations, tutors and learners to build an understanding of good practice in the delivery of adult literacy services. NALA provides access to research and resources which practitioners will find useful.

National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)

In Australia, the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has funded a number of research projects. The reports developed from these projects examine a wide range of literacy and numeracy issues, from evidence-based teaching and learning strategies, to the professional development needs of literacy practitioners.

National Centre for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL)

In Canada, the National Centre for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) was a federally funded research and development centre focused solely on adult learning. NCSALL offered an accessible, timely, and valuable source of pertinent information for the field of adult literacy education. All materials are available to download.

National Institute for Literacy (NIFL)

In the US, the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) was created to provide national leadership on adult literacy through improved communication and information exchange. The Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS) Resource Collection provides free online access to high-quality, evidence-based, vetted materials for use by adult educators.

National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy (NRDC)

The National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy (NRDC) was established by the UK government in 2002 as part of its Skills for Life strategy that aimed to improve the literacy, numeracy and language skills of adults in England. On this website you will find over 150 publications produced by NRDC since then, including research reports, research reviews and policy analysis.


TasCOSS and the Australian Health Promotion Association prepared 10 fact sheets on social factors that have a determining effect on health outcomes, including one focusing on the importance of education and literacy.

TasCOSS (2011) Tasmanian Voices: Adult Motivations for Learning Core Skills

Tasmanian Voices is an interview-based research publication with recommendations on how to remove the stigma attached to having low core skills and adapt training so as to engage more adults in core skills training.

The study concludes that although there are many motivated people engaged in literacy programs, there is a need for the development of a range of programme models to attract those who are currently disengaged. The research indicates that providing a variety of innovative delivery options will go a long way towards keeping engaged people motivated and attracting disengaged people into literacy programs.

IBSA (2011) Scoping Report: Recommendations for the Development of a Foundation Skills Training Package

This report documents findings from the consultation and scoping phase of IBSA’s project to develop a Foundation Skills Training Package. A series of nine public consultation workshops, targeted discussions with key stakeholders and written responses from 29 individuals and organisations have informed the development of this report and its recommendations.

The wide variety of stakeholders and a diversity of opinion in relation to foundation skills within VET make it impossible to please all stakeholders. IBSA’s approach to this project is guided by an objective to expand available options for supporting the foundation skills development of VET learners. The aim of the Foundation Skills Training Package is not to replace foundation skills support mechanisms that are currently working well, but to create flexible, new solutions that will make foundation skills development possible for more learners in more training contexts.

Reder, Stephen (2012) The Longitudinal Study of Adult Learning: Challenging Assumptions

This Research Brief, published by Montreal’s The Centre for Literacy, provides key findings and recommendations following a study about the development of literacy in adult life. Key questions addressed as part of the research included:

  • To what extent do adults’ literacy abilities continue to develop after they are out of school?
  • What are adult learners’ patterns of participation over time in literacy training and education? In other learning contexts?
  • What life experiences are associated with adult literacy development?
 How do formally organised basic skills programs contribute to these learning trajectories? Workplace training? Other contexts and activities?

What impacts does adult literacy development have on social and economic outcomes?

TCAL Management Committee (n.d.) Relationship between Adult Learning Australia (ALA) and TCAL

This briefing paper outlines the potential relations between Adult Learning Australia (ALA) and TCAL.