Top of page
Global Site Navigation

School of Arts and Humanities

Local Section Navigation

Help us improve our content by rating this page.

Page rating system

Please leave a comment about your rating so we can better understand how we might improve the page.

You are here: Main Content

Research themes

Social Program Evaluation

The social program evaluation research group brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines to apply research skills to evaluation of social, recreational and welfare programs. Past projects have included effectiveness and efficiency of programs for children, young people at risk, people from diverse cultural backgrounds, people with disabilities, and women. The group has specific expertise in mixed-method research designs, and project designs that use collaborative research approaches, action research methods, and systems approaches, as well as more traditional research designs. This research group has expertise in community work, children’s and family services, disability services, cultural diversity, sociology and social policy, women’s services and youth work. The expertise of the group can be applied to evaluation of:

  • Efficacy and efficiency of social and welfare programs;
  • Efficacy and efficiency of social policy in welfare and social inclusion;
  • Efficacy of management systems, and staff support and training;
  • Efficacy and efficiency of public information and social marketing; and
  • Efficacy and efficiency of crime prevention and community safety.

Social program research and evaluation can be of value to government departments who want to develop evidence-based policy. Program evaluations are useful to organisations seeking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their services, to refine their processes, or to target their programs more effectively. Program evaluation can also be used by service providers to demonstrate the value of social programs to funding bodies. In addition, program evaluations can help professions document and improve practice approaches and methods. In the past, researchers from this group have worked collaboratively with government and non-government organisations. Through the research of this group, organisations have been able to incorporate on-going evaluation into their programs and professional practice. We are sometimes able to assist organisations to source funding for program evaluations. This research group includes researchers with expertise and interests in different service types and population groups.

Innovation in Youth Work and Youth Service

The youth work and youth services research group undertakes research on issues that affect the wellbeing of young people. Specifically, researchers:

  • Undertake primary research on issues identified by policy makers and practitioners as important;
  • Evaluate youth services and work with practitioners to identify and test improvements to service delivery through participative action research methodologies;
  • Interpret the implications of academic research for policy makers, and practitioners in youth work and youth services;
  • Combine academic research with tacit professional knowledge to resolve practical problems, improve services and organisational practice in youth services;
  • Examine the implications of social and policy changes for youth work and youth service; and
  • Collaborate with youth organisations, government departments and policy makers to provide research that meets their needs.

Innovation in Prisoners’ Education and Welfare Services

The prison research group evaluates the outcomes for prisoners of education and rehabilitation services offered in prison. The most recent projects have determined the welfare and labour market outcomes of prison education and training (with WA Department of Corrective Services and federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations) and the cost effectiveness of the Industry Skills Centres in Victorian prisons.

Child and Family Support Service Innovation

The children and family services research group brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines to undertake research related to issues that affect the wellbeing of children and families, specifically to:

  • Undertake primary research on issues identified by practitioners as important;
  • Evaluate care and education policies for young children and their families;
  • Interpret the implications of research generated in a variety of disciplines can help practitioners in parent support services, and children’s services to improve services and organisational practice, and resolve practical problems;
  • Examine the implications of social changes for family support’ and
  • Collaborate with family and children’s organisations, departments and policy makers to provide research that will meet their needs.

Innovation in Disability Services

The disabilities group includes researchers from diverse disciplines relevant to disability studies. The research is informed by a human rights and social model of disability, which begins from the premise that people are ‘disabled’ by social, economic, environmental policies that fail to adequately acknowledge and respond to the needs of different populations. Researchers in this group study the intersection between policy and personal and community experiences of disability, with interest in all forms of disability. Past research has focussed particularly on understanding the perspectives of people with disabilities and their carers’, and the implications of their perceptions for policy development.

Cultural Diversity and Service Innovation

The cultural diversity research group includes researchers who have an interest in cultural diversity and inclusion, and knowledge about the cultural perspectives of a variety of population groups. Past research has focussed upon working with policy makers to evaluate and improve policy delivery to improve social inclusion of different populations. The research has involved understanding the perspectives of different cultural groups about policies that affect their lives, understanding the perspectives and constraints of service providers, and synthesising these perspectives with relevant national and international research on program effectiveness.

Innovation in Community Work and Inclusion

 The community work and inclusion research group undertakes research into issues that affect the wellbeing of people in geographic communities. The group:

  • Undertakes primary research on issues in community work and community development identified as important by policy makers and practitioners;
  • Evaluate how community services are delivered especially to people who are socially marginalised or vulnerable;
  • Interpret the implications of research for community services, community development, and social inclusion;
  • Examine the implications of social changes for social marginalisation, exclusion and vulnerability in geographic communities; and
  • Collaborate with government departments and policy makers in community development to provide research that will meet their needs.

Innovation in Higher Education in Social and Welfare Professions

The higher education research group conducts research to evaluate and improve aspects of the management and delivery of Australian university courses for the social and welfare professions. Specifically, researchers have expertise in:

  • Evaluation and improvement of learning and teaching processes for degree level professional qualifications in the social, welfare and community services; and
  • Evaluation of Australian Higher Education policy, especially as it affects the delivery of profession degree programs in social, welfare and community services.

Evaluation of crime prevention and community safety

Researchers evaluate existing crime prevention and community safety initiatives, identify good practice and propose improvements. Past projects have included government funded projects designed to evaluate existing programs. For crime prevention projects researchers from the SPIRE group often collaborate with researchers from the ECU Sellenger Research Centre.

Skip to top of page