FD2671 - Synthesis of Social Research for Policy Decisions

Theme:Policy, Strategy & Investment
Project status:Completed
Start date:01/01/2013
End date:01/09/2014


The current context for flood risk management in the UK is one of a transition away from a centrally funded and co-ordinated model, to a multi-level process of governance involving a wider range of public and private organisations and groups, and individuals. Given the new emphasis on shared responsibility and action, understanding individuals’ attitudes and behaviours, and the capabilities and capacities which shape community responses to flooding, is of critical importance to the development of the new, more collaborative model of flood risk management.

We have collated, assessed and synthesised available flood social science evidence from a range of sources. We have identified gaps in existing knowledge.

The methodology uses principles of action-based research to ensure end users are involved throughout the project. The methodology is deliberative in its approach, working collaboratively with the steering group and other stakeholders to formulate problems and solutions jointly, and encourage learning from the research process. Aspects of the methodology include literature review, interviews with expert consultees, participate workshops and case studies.

The objectives of this research were to:

- build capacity and understanding of social perspectives and findings from recent research amongst policy colleagues in a range of workshop events and briefings

- set a vision for success, supported by social science, and ‘ground truth’ this vision with themed workshops drawing on local and practitioner experience and expertise

- synthesise findings from existing relevant research to answer some specific ‘so what’ questions posed by policy, supported by evidence from application to different local contexts

- improve impact and relevance of existing social evidence by applying it to current policy context, helping to identify and assess knowledge gaps to inform future social research needs