Literacy in policy and practice

Research impact story

Mary Hamilton has conducted research on adult literacy since 1995 and during that period she has contributed to several influential books, articles and projects on this topic.  She was Project Director of the Practitioner-led Research Initiative which was funded by the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC). 

This initiative worked with 17 groups of practitioners over a 3 year period supporting practitioner research projects and resulting publications (available from the NRDC).  This work, and related publications, for example, "Adult Literacy, Language and Numeracy: Practice, Policy, Research" have enabled Mary Hamilton’s research to have a major impact on the UK Government's Skills for Life (SfL) policy and practice. 

At an international level, the German Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) funded a project at the Bunderwehrhochschule, Hamburg which used Mary Hamilton’s research to develop new ideas for adult literacy and basic education curricula and programmes. 

Also at an international level, the UNESCO publication “The Global Literacy Challenge” drew on Mary Hamilton’s research, about the definitions of literacy and literacies, in their 2009 mid-point review of the United Nations Literacy Decade.

Watch a video of UNESCO posters produced during the United Nations Literacy Decade.