Elaine works collaboratively with clients to provide information and evidence to assist with decision making and improve policies, programmes and services. In the current economic climate she understands the needs for clients to demonstrate outcomes and helps them align their evaluation and monitoring activities within a results-based accountability framework. Elaine has a reputation of completing projects within timelines and budgets.
Report writing is a real strength – Elaine ensures that her reports adequately and comprehensively synthesise all of the evidence obtained, but most importantly ensures that the report addresses the research questions that were originally posed.
Elaine is a multi-disciplinary researcher with both qualitative and quantitative research skills and has developed a particular expertise in the design and implementation of mixed-methodology research and evaluation. Example of her skills sets are listed below, which can be combined or used separately as appropriate to the nature of the project.
- Statistical analysis – Elaine has taught statistics up to graduate level and uses SPSS software for most statistical analysis. Recently these skills have been used to conduct validity testing of two of New Zealand Police’s risk assessment tools.
- Research designs – Elaine enjoys the challenge of developing robust research designs that are practical for each specific research project. This could be true experimental design, quasi-experimental, correlational or descriptive. She has also lectured on alternative options to randomised control trials (e.g., time series analysis, regression discontinuity designs and propensity score matching).
- Analysis of administrative data – Elaine has developed expertise in collating and analysing criminal justice datasets. These have included extraction and analysis of New Zealand Police data, Oranga Tamariki (formely Child Youth and Family) CYRAS data and other programme specific data and analysis of criminal justice data provided by Department of Corrections and Ministry of Justice. She is skilled at selecting the best ways to meaningfully present data.
- Survey design, development and analysis – Elaine has experience designing and conducting postal and online surveys, and small scale telephone surveys. Having taught research methods Elaine has a good understanding of appropriate sampling techniques. She has recently assisted in the analysis of the Global Drug Survey http://www.globaldrugsurvey.com/ carrying out data cleansing, re-coding and analysis of synthetic cannabis use and also impact of the New Zealand reform around ‘legal highs’. She also assisted with analysis of the 2006 New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey.
- Quality assurance – Elaine understands the importance of screening and cleaning all datasets, adhering to statistical assumptions to ensure validity and accuracy of data analysed.
Elaine is familiar with a wide range of qualitative research methods that can be conducted from differing theoretical perspectives.
- Interviewing skills – Elaine has conducted interviews with a range of participants including child, adolescent and adult offenders, victims of crime, sex workers and brothel operators, families and whānau, various community stakeholders including programme providers and professionals from the public sector. She understands the importance of building rapport and respecting the needs and unique characteristics of all those she interviews.
- Ethical processes – great importance is always placed on adhering to ethical processes including procedures for storing and maintaining the confidentiality of information, fully informing those being asked to take part in the research and for obtaining appropriate consents.
- Qualitative analysis – qualitative data is usually content-analysed for key themes assisted by use of NVivo qualitative software.
Elaine has conducted many literature reviews in her role as research and evaluation consultant and university academic. Most work she does includes some degree of evidence review. Recent examples include reviews for Ministry of Justice (Needs of victims of crime), New Zealand Police (Risk assessment of young offenders) and Ministry of Women’s affairs (Effective interventions for adult victims of sexual violence).
Whilst published evidence is often from outside New Zealand, a priority in preparing all reviews is to ensure findings are as far as possible relevant to the New Zealand context. As a Victoria University adjunct research fellow she has full access to all university library services including access to online research databases.