A Black woman shows a Black man how to do something on his computer

How Action Research Can Strengthen Community Services

Action research is a methodology where researchers consult with communities in a more inclusive way, by listening to their concerns directly, rather than simply relying on government and agency directives. Action research also involves community members and stakeholders in all steps of the research process, from the types of questions asked and the way in which the issues are investigated.

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People walking in Martin Place station underground. A large monitor shows an ad with stick figure people: one is green, seated, and listening and singing to their music; the other figures are black - one is pregnant, the other uses a walking stick, and the other stands

Using social norms on public transport

Below is an example of how social norms can encourage a change toward a desired behaviour. A sign at Martin Place station, in Sydney, reminds people: ‘Some reasons for needing a seat are harder to spot than others.’ This is known as behavioural insights – the use of behavioural and social sciences like psychology, economics, anthropology and sociology for social policy and services.

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People seen walking, from the back, in Sydney

How to improve justice programs

Reducing reoffending is a state priority in New South Wales. New sentencing reforms will increase referrals to behaviour change programs or other support services for people who are at high-risk of reoffending. Yet non-mandatory programs can often have low participation rates, particularly when programs are new.  

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A group of white peole stand and look at a poster they've made

Emergency decision-making

Flood-related fatalities have been an ongoing problem in Australia since the early 1900s. This post reflects how our team worked through this behavioural issue, and brainstormed problems, during a recent masterclass we ran with NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES).

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A young man is using a saw while an older man works in the background

Education and training

Our new research shows apprentices who cancel their employment contracts do so because they often feel they are subjected to tough working conditions for little pay (undertaking menial, repetitive tasks and long hours), receiving little guidance about their progress on the job. How can behavioural science help?

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Health and Social Inclusion

In a previous post, I explained how social science helps local governments implement public health planning and programs. This time, I’ll provide some specific examples about how social science addresses issues of social inclusion for vulnerable and marginalised community groups.

Previously, I described how, in the context of health, social inclusion  is about ensuring everyone in the community has access and can fully participate in health services. Social science is used to shape policies, community programs and health services for minority and special needs groups. This includes people of different cultures and different family types, addressing disability and socio-economic issues.

Local councils often have terrific health education and community wellbeing programs, but minority groups may not know where to find information due to their socio-economic and educational background. For example, research shows that a significant proportion of elderly people (54%) do not use the internet, and still prefer to talk on the phone rather than use the internet to find information, yet many local councils have most of their services advertised on their websites.

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