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New Research Initiatives In Social Science

The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST) has approved funding for three new major social research projects.

These new programmes are to be funded by the Government’s new Social Research output class and are expected to improve outcomes for families and communities throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand.

In recent years considerable effort has gone into strengthening communities through local partnerships. Examples include community health plans, healthy cities partnerships, area-based employment and training projects and urban Maori service delivery. Dr Wendy Larner of the University of Auckland is to undertake a research project aimed at identifying the overall range, scope and effectiveness of local partnerships. She will also investigate the forms of local partnerships that are developing, and how can these be enhanced. It will also try to establish how local partnerships facilitate access to networks, information and opportunities for communities, families/whanau and individuals. The main purpose of the research is to gain a better understanding of the role local partnerships play in enhancing the well-being of communities, families and individuals.

Another research programme that has been approved will investigate work and family life in New Zealand, and the subsequent outcomes for children. Dr Paul Callister of Callister and Associates will lead this programme that is designed to increase knowledge and understanding of families and households, including how they contribute to the well-being of children and young people. In particular, the program aims to understand how paid work, ethnicity and unpaid work, including community work, are distributed across three units - individuals, households and geographic communities - and how this affects the well-being of children. The programme will primarily utilise existing data from large-scale official surveys. These include the five yearly Census, the Household Labour Force Survey and the Time Use Survey.

The final programme approved relates to multiple job holding as a key response by individuals, families and communities to social and economic change. This programme, led by Nick Taylor of Taylor Baines and Associates, will provide knowledge about the way individuals, families and communities are adapting to social and economic change through multiple job holding. It will look at issues relating to part-time work, self employment, casualisation of work, home-based and tele-work, and participation of women in the paid workforce.

The scope will cover motivations for undertaking multiple jobs, conditions of work, health and safety issues, technological change, training and retraining, individual and family life courses, patterns of leisure and consumption, and impacts on family and community life. The research also considers how multiple job holding contributes to local, regional and national economic strategies.


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