At some point of their life, every Australian encounters the social services system. Through evidence-based advocacy and research-based approaches, our sector can drive change and deliver improved outcomes for everyone.

That’s why we put evidence creation and information sharing at the heart of everything that we do.

About our Research

Australia is a prosperous nation. We are living healthier and longer. Our quality of life is the best it has ever been. But these benefits are not shared equally.

Community challenges like entrenched disadvantage and homelessness remain stubbornly resistant to change.

Where you live can effect what support you receive in times of need. Sometimes vulnerable groups struggle because of unintended consequences of government policy.

That is why we partner across our nation-wide network to pilot policies and produce evidence about how things work on the ground. Our research informs better government policy and programs.

Around the world, there is more demand for academic research to have real-world impact. Australia is not immune to this trend. Across the nation, more universities are creating impact hubs to help researchers connect.

Academic and professional literature tells us that this challenge is not an easy one. It points to multiple factors that limit this change.

Yet, research on social services that work for everyone is essential to an effective and fair system. Our team includes people with broad experience in academia, policy and the sector that partner to guarantee real impact for research with the poor and vulnerable.

New discoveries and technologies are changing our lives.

Cutting-edge research and reporting makes us more aware of the need in our communities. It also shows that these needs usually come in complex clusters. While digital technology helps, we still struggle to integrate services to meet these needs.

Governments are also requiring more hard proof to justify welfare spending. They want data to show that a service delivers, an outcome is achieved or a policy needs to change.

Together, these changes place new information demands on our members and sector.

This is why we work to produce reliable research and mentor our members in evidence techniques. Our research work doesn’t just collect data, it strengthens our sector to help those most in need.

More and more the news media focuses on what entertains not what informs. Social researchers tell us that public opinion groups more around issues than ideologies. Younger generations seem more likely to follow an online community than join a faith one. The way to communicate our contribution to the community is changing.

Meanwhile, what it takes to persuade public leaders is also evolving. As a sector, we have been good at sharing inspiring accounts about how our services change lives. For some time, we have used these accounts to lobby government. But, increasingly policymakers require other forms of evidence to support these stories.

These new times need new approaches to inform and influence public debate. That is why our research agenda draws on multiple-methodologies and diverse evidence bases. Our research informs public opinion by speaking to a wide range of audiences in ways that makes sense to them.

Our Areas of Focus

  • Entrenched disadvantage (Visit Mapping the Potential)
  • Welfare payments
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Disability and mental health
  • Outcomes framework
  • Integrated service models
  • Submitting Category 1-3 grants involving industry partners;
  • Partnerships between academic researchers and our national network of service providers;
  • Applied projects for research-focussed university students or intern programs;
  • Developing research translation and impact strategies in the social services sector.

Our network can support members in:

  • Forming national consortia to compete for evidence-based grant funding;
  • Research project design, implementation and impact workshops;
  • Program logic, theory of change and outcomes measurement training;
  • Entering research partnerships with academics or consultants.
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