Building partnerships and undertaking impactful research in collaboration with vulnerable groups and the services that support them

We are a team of four academics from the Schools of Health and Social Care, and Psychology, with experience in frontline services and conducting research into homelessness, addiction, criminal justice and mental health.

In the past 2 years, we have worked on multiple mixed-methods projects with people who are vulnerable due to complex needs. Projects have included investigation into the critical success factors for Nottinghamshire Rough Sleeper Initiative Services; investigation of the effectiveness of a local social impact bond project supporting people experiencing entrenched rough sleeping; a review of the Lincolnshire Blue Light Service which supports people considered ‘treatment resistant drinkers’; and an exploration of the impact of Covid-19 on people experiencing homelessness locally. The findings inform future delivery to underpin continuous service improvement for services supporting people experiencing multiple and complex needs.

In our discussion, we will share our learning from undertaking such research including collaboration with local organisations; ethical and practical considerations for interviewing people who are vulnerable; adapting and undertaking research within the pandemic; the benefit of undertaking smaller scale projects to inform the development of future successful applications; the effectiveness of inter-disciplinary working across schools; and the importance of drawing upon practice experiences alongside academic experience.


Dr Jim Rogers, School of Health and Social Care
Dr Lauren Smith, School of Psychology
Dr Amanda Roberts, School of Psychology
Mr Thomas George, School of Health and Social Care