Wikipedia says they usually hail from lower-middle-class backgrounds, have limited education and exhibit speech, clothing and behaviour that reflect their upbringing.

But a Hamilton scholar says bogans, himself included, could be insulted by that and two Napier bogans plan to contact the online encyclopaedia to have the entry altered.

Dave Snell - who caused a stir in 2007 when he was awarded a doctoral scholarship at the University of Waikato of almost $100,000 to study bogans' identity and community among heavy metal fans - says many of his ilk wore the term bogan as a badge of honour.

"I don't think it's self-deprecating because people who call themselves bogans are generally quite proud of it," he said.

"I also disagree with the lower education aspect - a better way of describing it is they are usually working-class people or they have that affinity for the working class.

"They may not officially be in the working class but they kind of like working-class imagery, they hang out with working-class people and have their ideals."

Mr Snell, who graduates on Thursday in Hamilton, considers himself a bogan despite riding a bicycle instead of driving a Torana.

The AC/DC fan's study looked at how bogans develop their identity and function in the community with physical appearance a factor in how they express themselves.

"I'm a bogan but I also work at Wintec. I'm a son, a brother, there are all these roles and identities that have different demands and mean I negotiate them in my life and it may mean that I dress differently in certain circumstances so we are not just one person.

"Those sorts of processes have quite important implications, like how can people change and internal motivations for things so we are looking at the context of environment and how it can shape people?"

Mr Snell's research looked into how bogan membership in other groups influenced them as metallers.

As well as interviewing a cross-section of bogans, he attended concerts with them, and observed their interactions and how people used heavy metal music for identity and making and maintaining relationships.

"These are positive things that are a lot more in tune with heavy metal fans' everyday experiences rather than the stuff you hear in the news or various other people who say that angry music will make you angry and things like that that just aren't true.

"If you are talking about physical stuff, it's about going to concerts, moshing and headbanging, having posters on the walls, keeping concert ticket stubs - that's why heavy metal was a good example because there are so many external things bogans do."

He said his research showed bogans could not be slotted into distinct personality types and were more likely to be shaped through their interactions rather than being born with a predilection for V8 engines, skinny black jeans and Metallica.

His supervisor, Professor Darrin Hodgetts, said the research was valuable in that he used bogans as a case study to investigate community and identity.

Mr Snell, who presented his work at conferences in Portugal and Switzerland, is assisting other students with their research but hopes to continue his own at a later date.