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Social Program Innovation Research and Evaluation

SPIRE is the Social Program Innovation Research and Evaluation group. We are a cross-disciplinary, cross-school group of researchers who undertake research into the theoretical models, policies, strategies, efficiency, effectiveness, and operations of social programs. Our funding is derived primarily from fee-for-service research services provided to federal government, state government, local Government and non-government organisations. We also collaborate with staff in other universities.

The goal of the Social Program Innovation Research and Evaluation (SPIRE) research group is to improve the quality of social and community services, through research centred upon policy evaluation, service evaluation and factors that affect service delivery. The SPIRE research group promotes and facilitates cross-disciplinary research and evaluation to improve service delivery in the social, community and welfare services including youth services and community education and related areas. The research group provides opportunities to strengthen the transfer of knowledge from new research to professional practice; and the development of new research agendas shaped by emergent issues in professional practice. The group provides support to students and staff at all stages in their academic careers and provides mentoring and support opportunities to new researchers, and peer support to experienced researchers and research leaders. The cross-disciplinary approach helps members to develop and extend both internal and external networks and relationships. It provides potential for increased publication and grant income through improved mentoring and peer support; and provides opportunities to develop expertise in emerging methodologies in evaluation research.

The current group has expertise in policy research, multicultural services, child and family support services, young people and youth work, community development, aging, services for people with disabilities, women’s services, child protection, carers, cost effectiveness methodologies, crime and crime prevention. The group is multidisciplinary, and includes members with expertise in sociology, psychology, criminology, economics, political theory and policy, educational research, research methodologies, gerontology, anthropology and philosophy.

Past and present funded research projects have involved cross-institutional collaboration with several universities including: the Australian Catholic University; Curtin University; Murdoch University; Notre Dame University; Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University; Tabor (Adelaide); University of New England; Victoria University.

Past and present projects have been funded by: the City of Stirling (WA); Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department; the Commonwealth Office for Learning and Teaching; Department for Communities (WA); Department of Indigenous Affairs (WA); Department of Justice (Victoria); Disability Services Commission; Dungeon Youth Services Inc.; Edith Cowan University; Mission Australia.

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