Quality research underpins all our work. We design, manage and deliver simple or complex research projects to a high standard. We use robust designs and methods—quantitative and qualitative—to gather sound evidence.
Scoping for research
We advise on the most appropriate research to meet the needs for evidence and value for money. We can apply the full range of designs, from descriptive snapshots to experimental and quasi-experimental before and after designs using control or comparison groups.
Surveys investigate issues and portray reach and patterns within a group or population. We design and conduct surveys of program stakeholders, beneficiaries and key informants. Where large-scale CATI population surveys are needed, we contract a specialist market research partner.
We use two basic types of surveys—those developed by others, and those we create ourselves. This allows us to balance the confidence from instruments tested for reliability and validity with the flexibility to create new instruments to measure exactly what you want to know.
Our surveys produce robust findings because we pay attention to each step—sampling, question and instrument design, cognitive interviewing, piloting, systematic administration and follow up, data management, analysis and presentation. We have sophisticated online survey capabilities that can increase the responsiveness and efficiency of a survey for suitable groups.
Quantitative data analysis
Getting the most out of quantitative data means organising it into forms that can be analysed, and performing calculations to provide answers to questions. In addition to data your organisation may hold, we can collate and analyse secondary data from sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics or specific policy data collections.
We select the methods for analysis and data presentation to fit the available data and the questions being asked, from simple frequency tabulations and effect size to regression and correlation analysis, cluster and factor analysis, multiple regression, and inferential statistics.
We understand the difficulties of measuring costs in many human services programs, but often knowing the cost of services and outcomes is really important. We can undertake cost studies and cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analysis, and where data is available, cost-benefit analysis. If needed, we call on our associate economists for expert advice on appropriate economic analysis.
Focus groups and similar techniques explore views of specific groups, and can provide insights and rich qualitative data. We use sampling and recruitment strategies to meet the research purpose. We can conduct focus groups with all kinds of people, taking care to be culturally competent, and can use purpose-designed facilities or convenient venues. We use systematic qualitative methods to analyse and report findings.
Case study research can provide in-depth understanding of individuals, families, communities, organisations or regions. We design and conduct case studies to explore specific issues, drawing on various data sources and methods. We develop samples and focus questions, conduct onsite research, confirm findings with key informants, and prepare concise case reports. We can analyse groups of case studies to identify themes and issues.
Evidence reviews and media analysis
We undertake systematic literature reviews to identify effective practices, to contextualise evaluation findings, and to analyse gaps in evidence to inform future research. Where policies or programs have attracted media coverage, we use content and discourse analysis to assess their media presence. This can provide valuable insights into how your policy or program is characterised by different media.
Research with special groups
Different approaches are often needed to reach some groups, including Aboriginal people and communities, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, homeless people, children, people with disabilities and their carers. We use culturally sensitive methods, recognise limitations, and draw upon our associates who have special expertise and contacts.