Contrary to popular belief, there are ap[proaches that provide a sound basis to resolve and address what are widely referred to as 'wicked problems' where outcomes and contexts are dynamic, continually changing and interdependently affected my multiple factors many of whom are not determinable directly.
'Wicked' situations and problems cannot be resolved by design and research tools that aim to identify a fixed 'best' solution.
Our core assumptions are that wicked problems always involve:
- Multiple feedback loops in which different factors act on each other in ways that eventually change themselves as well
- There are delays between causes of changes and outcomes and these can be variable
- The situation dynamically changes in many ways over time, some fast some slow and not necessarily consistently.
- The boundaries of the situation can change
- Individuals and groups can wield power in ways that change how the situation operates and do this in different ways at different times
- Predicting the dynamic behaviour of the outcomes is essential
- The situation is influenced by a variety of contextual issues that also change over time and which the complex situation can also influence
- Ownership and control of different aspects of the 'wicked' or complex socio-technical situation may change
Our approach involves:
- Initial brief identification
- Literature review to identify existing knowledge
- Participatory consultation with stakeholders and experts to gather information via a variety of approaches including soft systems methodology methods, focus groups, public consultation meetings.
- Gathering of physical data if necessary.
- Preliminary mapping of 'wicked' situation - using a variety of methods including causal loop diagrams, state space diagrams, morphological mapping, layered function-process-need diagrams, dimensional analysis and social equivalents etc
- Identification of boundaries and boundary conditions as appropriate (linear programming, variety analysis, state space analysis, functional bounding,
- Review of preliminary mapping and boundary issues by reference group of stakeholders and experts and revision as necessary.
- Preliminary modelling. typically, this involves developing a testable dynamic model of the system using Vensim, Powersim or similar software, or a physical dynamic model.
- Reviewing and calibrating preliminary dynamic model via reference group and existing historic data
- Constructing and testing a practical representative dynamic model
- Collaborating with stakeholders to use the dynamic model to identify the best ways of addressing the wicked problem by reviewing the dynamic outcomes that result from the different strategies and approaches that are tried.
We provide document thematic analysis:
- Identification of themes using NVivo
- Identification of themes via manual review
- Create report describing thematic analysis and findings
We offer systems modelling and analysis:
- System Dynamics modelling (Causal loop diagrams and dynamic stock flow models)
- Complex socio-technical systems analysis
- Agent-based modelling
- Variety-based complex socio-techncial analysis for complex organizational relationships and power analysis
- Linear and complex process analyses
- Soft systems methodology
- Morphological analysis
- Policy analysis
- Social program analysis
- Viable Systems modelling
- Cybernetic analysis
We provide full service management of data collection by interview and focus groups:
- Identifying appropriate interviewees or focus group members
- Contacting interviewees/focus group members
- Completing ethics approval documentation
- Creating and managing documentation (information sheets, consent sheets etc)
- Obtaining formal agreements with interviewees/focus group members
- Arranging and scheduling interviews and focus groups (including locations and providing maps)
- Scheduling and managing any follow up interviews
- Managing the recorded data and notes.
We offer a full service for interview data collection and analysis:
- Identifying interviewees
- Contacting interviewees
- Creating appropriate documents (information sheets, permission sheets, etc)
- Undertaking interviews
- Audio recording of interviews
- Video recording of interviews
- Transcription of recordings
- Physical notetaking of interviewee responses
- Coding and analysis of interviewee responses into themes or other criteria
- Creating interview reports
We undertake transcriptions of audio and video recordings, e.g. interviews, news, film discourse, etc:
- Most audio and video formats are acceptable
- Transcriptions can be provided in most common file formats (doc, docx, pdf etc)
- Recordings and transcriptions are managed securely and anonymously
- All transcriptions undertaken under non-disclosure agreements
Websites are increasingly essential to ensuring successful outcomes for research projects.
We create websites for research projects:
- Increased public awareness of the work of the researchers.
- Effective dissemination of research findings
- Central point for research project management
- Efficient structure for data collection
- Effective infrastructure for connecting with stakeholders
We efficiently conduct interviews and focus groups:
- Locate and prepare interview location including audio or video recording
- Manage interview contract arrangement and paperwork (information sheets, consent sheets etc)
- Conduct interview(s)/focus group including recording and note taking
- Provide and manage refreshments for interviewee(s) or focus group members if needed.
- Type up notes
- Create report on interview(s) or focus groups (if required)
- Deliver notes, recordings and report.
We provide a full range of services for surveys and questionnaires:
- Creating accessible informative reports on survey and questionnaire data
- Creating and validating survey and questionnaires
- Pilot testing and revision
- Formatting for online, hardcopy, administered and self-administered use
- Managing collection of survey and questionnaire data
- Coding and analysis
We provide data collection and analysis:
- Social data (social programs, policy outcomes, strategic planning outcomes, organizational behaviour)
- Socio-technical research (where outcomes are determined by combined social and technological factors)
- Market-related data
- Built environment data (planning, urban design, building post-occupancy analysis, transport systems)
- Criminological and crime prevention data (crime data, CPTED, Design Out Crime, indigenous justice, juvenile justice, diversionary systems)
- Complex socio-technical systems (for government policy-makers, planners, system designers, innovation, R&D)
We provide the following document analysis and collation services:
- Search and identification of relevant documents, journal articles, conference papers, books, web pages, files, reports, etc.
- Collate and categorize citation details in a reference manager software (usually Endnote, but flexible)
- Download, catalog & store project files securely
- Locate and purchase hard copy documents and arrange freight
- Analyze documents (literature review; annotated bibliography; comparative, thematic, conceptual, theoretical, critical analysis etc)
- Collate and write up reports on analyses (Word, pdf output or similar)
- Create secure web access for research staff to analyses, files, documents etc
- Secure-wipe of data
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