Exclusion-informed research

'Exclusion-informed research' was the phrase coined in a discussion between Coral Westaway, Lizette Nolte and Robin Johnson over Westaway's then published thesis, which describes the role of staff and service structures as providing 'the scaffolding of hope'.

It aimed to make a clear linkage between the concept of a PIE, as a psychologically informed environment - by now well established - and the need for a more sophisticated approach to research to understand complex needs and complex need services, if they are not to simply replicate, through insensitivity to the issues, the marginalisation of those with more complex needs. 

The same is true, not just of individuals' needs, and their very individual routes to recovery. There is also a huge challenge in researching not just single interventions but coherent packages, whole environments, as PIEs, and whole systems. Yet as it becomes increasingly clear that exclusion is as much systemic as it is individual, that work is now being attempted, in various ways; we give some examples here.

Further material

  • Introducing the PIE approach
  • Built environment and adaptations
  • Using the whole environment:
  • PIEs, outreach and community
  • PIEs in 'single site' Housing First
  • PIEs in clinical work
  • 'Psychologically informed business environments'
  • Whole systems change
  • PIE Techniques
  • PIEs and ‘exclusion- informed research’


Scaffolding of hope is a podcast of the interview, with Coral Westaway and Lizette Nolte, in which the phrase 'exclusion-informed research' is coined. 

Conducting research and evaluation with people with complex needs in a person-centred way  is a video made of a presentation by Juliette Hough and Becky Rice, with many observations and useful tips of mistakes to avoid. 

Complex needs and available data is a video from a presentation by Grant Everrett of One Nottingham on the complex task of gathering multiple datasets for mapping complex needs. This is exclusion-informed research as applied not - as most items here - to individuals' own changes, or their own experience, but to relevant data.  

In Do complex needs need complex needs services?  Robin Johnson argues that research that gives greatest weight to programmes that work with those easiest and most ready to engage have been part of the problem of systemic exclusion. 

The researcher/practitioner relationship Sophie Boobis, in a conference presentation, describes with wry humour the challenge for researchers of learning from constantly emerging practice.


Also related: 

Louise Simonsen's description of the work of the Street Buddies gives an example of the totally individual, sometimes infinitesimally small changes that may nevertheless mark success in engaging the most entrenched and wary of the homelessness world.

Development of the Outcomes Star by Joy McKeith spells out the philosophical and ethical roots of the Outcomes Star, a participatory measurement of distance traveled for service users. 

Reflexive photography – Leonie Boland - an Occupational Therapist and researcher - describes the use of self-generated imagery as a technique in exploring what works in hostel residents' experience of re-homing; exclusion-informed research. (Coming Soon)

Participatory Appraisal as described in in this video with Zack Ahmed is an approach to services consultation that directly addresses the power relationship between systems and marginalised groups -  using post-colonial era techniques of community empowerment.

The cycles of practice-based learning is a video that argues that evidence-based policy must give greater recognition to learning by doing. It attempts to show the need for, and the role of action learning and the sharing of emerging practice, as being just as valid and probably more immediate in impact than much of current formal research.

A Whole New World : commissioning for complexity by Toby Lowe and colleagues at Collaborate offers a radical approach to psychologically informed commissioning; creating a PIE of pathways; markers of whole systems change

Behaving like a system by Lankelly Chase describes an exercise undertaken with services in Coventry, identifying markers of whole systems change

System brokers change - Ray Middleton & Alex Smith describe an approach to practice-based learning and system brokerage at Fulfilling Lives, Newcastle Gateshead, based on immediacy of feedback from the experience of exclusion of service users to the managers of services, in one locality.





Scaffolding of hope : podcast/interview with Coral Westaway and Lizette Nolte, HERE

Conducting research and evaluation with people with complex needs in a person-centred way : video/presentation by Juliette Hough and Becky Rice, HERE

Complex needs and available data - video/presentation by Grant Everrett .  HERE

Do complex needs need complex needs services?  published article by Robin Johnson , HERE

The researcher/practitioner relationship video/presentation, with Sophie Boobis, HERE


Also related: 

Street Buddies - video/interview with Louise Simonsen HERE

Development of the Outcomes Star - published paper by Joy McKeith HERE

Reflexive photography – Leonie Boland - (Coming Soon)

Participatory Appraisal - video/interview with Zack Ahmed HERE

Learning and Enquiry and the cycles of practice-based learning - video/presentation by Robin Johnson  HERE 

A Whole New World : commissioning for complexity - Toby Lowe and colleagues at Collaborate,  HERE

Behaving like a system -  Lankelly Chase  HERE

System brokers change - video/interview with Ray Middleton & Alex Smith  HERE