Work Package 5: Presenting our Findings and Refining Our Designs

Presenting DesHCA’s Findings, Designs, Recommendations, and Tools to a Wider Audience

Work Package 5 represents the final stages of the DesHCA project. Expected to take place in 2023 and early 2024, these activities are DesHCA’s last chance to raise awareness of our findings, collect feedback from a diverse audience, and make any necessary changes to our designs, tools, or recommendations before the end of the project. 

Its impossible to accurately predict exactly what the different activities in Work Package 5 will look like at this point because they will be designed to draw on everything we’ve tried, and everything we’ve learned, throughout the entire project. 

Activities that people find engaging or enjoyable in earlier work packages will make an appearance here as we tailor our events to meet the needs and interests of different groups and stakeholders, as well as respond to any ongoing restrictions, closer to the time. 

What we can predict is that Work Package 5 will be broken down into two key parts: stakeholder workshops and a realist evaluation. 

Stakeholder Workshops (led by Dr Alison Dawson)

What is a Stakeholder Workshop?

Workshops are a widely used and well-established part of social science research. Unlike focus groups, where the main aim is to gather information from a particular group of people, workshops aim to communicate information and invite participants to change the way they think about a particular subject. 

Workshops usually involve both presentations, where the researchers tell attendees about a particular topic, and group or individual work, where the attendees then work through different questions or activities to come to achieve a specific goal.

The world ‘stakeholder’ simply refers to a person, group, or organisation that has an interest in the topic being discussed. This means that every project or organisation will have different stakeholders, each with their own interests and perspectives. 

What is DesHCA doing?

It’s impossible to say exactly what these workshops will look like ahead of time. Our goal is to bring together stakeholders from a range of different stakeholder groups, including older people, representatives from government and the local authorities, allied healthcare practitioners and industry professionals to respond to DesHCA’s findings, designs, and recommendations. 

We know that we will use the Serious Game developed in Work Package Four to help attendees explore the challenges and benefits of developing and maintaining housing that supports older people to live better in the home of their choice, as well present our designs and recommendations for new and retrofitted homes as part of this process. But how we run these workshops and capture the responses of our attendees is something we’re still deciding as we work through DesHCA’s other activities. 

Our goal is to provide a workshop experience that encourages every participant to think creatively and hopefully about the future of supportive home design, and the different ways that houses can be adapted to meet the needs of older people and support healthy cognitive ageing.

A Realist Evaluation (led by Professor Alison Bowes)

What is a Realist Evaluation?

 A realist evaluation is a particular form of academic research that can be used to evaluate whether a particular intervention, or not, and for whom. Realist evaluations usually follow an intervention (where researchers change or manipulate something to achieve a specific goal) to get a clearer insight into how and why that intervention does (or doesn’t) work. 

Conducting a realist evaluation begins with the team developing a theory about how a particular process works. This will usually include laying out how what the key factors are, how they interact, and what the different outcomes of these interactions will be within a specific context. 

What is DesHCA doing?

The Realist Evaluation is one of the last activities within the DesHCA project and aims to give an insight into where our efforts to draw together stakeholders across different groups has had a positive impact, and where we need to change our approach. 

Realist evaluations can draw on both qualitative and quantitative data – so each part of the research conducted by the DesHCA team to this point will feed into the evaluation. The team will then analyse this data to identify ‘sticking points’ which might be delaying our recommendations about cognitively supportive home design being put into practice in the real world. 

Identifying these sticking points will allow the team to adjust their approach in the final months of the project to engage with as many stakeholders as possible, as well as highlight wider context issues which might be making it difficult for certain groups to adapt or engage with new guidance. 

Our goal is to create a thorough evaluation of the project, and its findings, so that we can understand what worked well, what didn’t, and how we can use that knowledge to conduct better research and promote more positive change in the future.