Jo has been actively researching in several areas. Her PhD addressed better understandings of the wider systemic factors that support 11- to 13-year-old students in reading. Jo’s doctoral studies have resulted in numerous international publications and conference presentations. Her doctoral study was part of a Cognition Education Research Trust funded project investigating ‘Reading programmes in Year 7-8 primary classes that support effective literacy practices: What is happening and where to next?’
Her earlier research focused on Pasifika students’ literacy achievement. She took a lead role as part of a research team, working with the guidance of matai (chiefs) to develop a Pasifika appropriate research methodology. She has also undertaken research with Faye Parkhill on supports and barriers to literacy learning for Asian school students.
These research investigations ignited her interest in adult literacy and second chance diverse learners. Jo was the principal co-investigator with Professor Niki Davis in a research project funded by the MOE to investigate ‘E-learning, mixed mode and distance learning for adult literacy, language and numeracy’. This research has led to international work in the area of adult literacy for speakers of English as a second language and exploring how e-learning can support English literacy acquisition.