Pam McKinney at the LILAC conference: Pam writes
"The second session of the day featured a presentation by Caitriona Honohan on The information seeking behaviours of advisors to policy makers for homelessness in Ireland. There are increasing numbers of homeless people in Ireland who access emergency housing services. Caitriona was concerned with how research into homelessness reached policy-makers. She Interviewed 6 participants who were all advisors to policy makers from various organisations, e.g. civil servants, homeless charities and regional local government.
"The aim of the project was to understand how and where they searched for information and any barriers they faced. An instrumental case study methodology was adopted with purposive sampling. The interviews lasted around 30 minutes and were audio recorded. A grounded theory approach with a constant comparison was taken to the data analysis.
"The findings showed that personal contacts were key to the information seeking behaviours, but participants also used databases, websites of trusted organisations and libraries. Barriers included time constraints, and limited access to academic sources. The participants displayed "satisficing" behaviours due to time constraints.
"Participants suggested using big data analysis of homelessness data as has been done in other countries, and greater sharing of anonymised data between organisations (charities and government departments). More research would be welcomed on homelessness data and better communication between charities and accommodation providers. It was identified that a central information portal for all stakeholders, which included free access to academic information, would be the ideal solution. Informal personal contacts between homelessness service providers and academic researchers were very important, and the formalisation of these contacts would benefit services."
Photo by Pam McKinney: LILAC delegates enjoy the Swansea beach, April 2017