PIE and the PIE Abacus as a research tool?

'Re-claiming the middle ground'

The PIE concept, and the PIEs 2 framework, are both peculiarly 'multi-purpose'; that is, they intend to cover a wide range of different services, in a single framework (HERE).

This is, as we freely acknowledge (HERE), quite an ambition. To suggest that the same framework might also offer a workable research tool is already to stretch that ambition still further.

But it does seem that with a PIE Abacus licence. researchers will be able to create active, participating information networks, and to recruit frontline services specifically for particular research purposes, without some of the conceptual and practical constraints that have limited research in the past .

In 're-claiming the middle ground', we have argued that in providing context, in research and for discussions and practice share in any other other communities of practice,

".... the Pizazz, and especially the PIE Abacus, also creates opportunities for wider engaged research...... PIEs 2, and the Pizazz assessment framework now provide a reasonably coherent overview, and a single, consistent but multi-facetted and fully systemic account of the work of any participating services, with the scope for variations fairly clearly identified....."


A bridge too far?

One serious question mark has to be over how far it is really possible for one single framework to be suitable for so many different purposes.  The PIE framework only claims to be a heuristic (HERE)  - a useful way of looking at services, that helps to identify the key features that the services may wish to explore, and work on.

Yet if this framework does prove to be a common language for 'what works' in services, and for research on what works, it becomes not just a way of looking, but a way of gathering data; and the way we organise and describe the data we gather will  become, in effect, a taxonomy of the subject we study.

To what extent, then is the PIEs framework fit for this purpose?

At some point in the future, when the PIE Abacus is rather more widely used as an assessment and change management tool for services, we will want to bring together a colloquium of researchers, to explore how far if can be used in research.

Until that day, we would be keen to have more 'modest' discussions with perhaps a small handful of researchers. to begin to test these waters.

Further background reading/listening/viewing

The simplest, most effective way to evaluate and improve your PIE from Daniel O'Brien on Vimeo.


PIElink pages

The PIE Abacus - an on-line Pizazz (summary) : HERE

What are people saying about the PIE Abacus? : HERE

Costs and sustainability : HERE

Use and terms of use : HERE

Ambition and modesty : HERE

A single framework : HERE

Customising the PIE Abacus : HERE


Essential background for PIE leads

The PIE Abacus range - an introduction for PIE leads : HERE


For applications in particular settings, see:

The PIE Abacus – in medium to large agencies HERE

The PIE Abacus – in local practice networks : HERE

The PIE Abacus – in smaller 'stand alone' services HERE

The PIE Abacus – as a research tool : HERE

The PIE Abacus – in communities of practice : HERE

The PIE Abacus – in service user-led assessments : HERE

The PIE Abacus – with services using PIEs1 : HER


All PIE Abacus FAQs : HERE