Guide to using research in sustainability programs

Research has an important part to play in developing sustainability programs. This guide aims to demystify research, show how and when to use it and explain how research leads to successful program outcomes.

The guide

The guide can help project and program managers integrate research as a key part of best practice program management and provides guidance to the types of research appropriate at different program stages. It uses an outcomes hierarchy approach to planning research into the stages of the program management cycle.

The guide will help you to understand:

  • how research builds knowledge - an important ingredient of successful education programs
  • what types of knowledge you can develop from research - either existing or new research
  • the role of research in change
  • how to incorporate research throughout sustainability or sustainability education programs.

Benefits of research

Using research in your program will help you:

  • Better understand the context for change
  • Meet the needs of your stakeholders
  • Get your program right the first time
  • Ensure activities are ‘fit for purpose’ and that you will achieve your desired outcomes
  • Better establish priorities within your program
  • Incorporate continuous improvement into existing programs and practice
  • Improve chances of securing funding (either internally or externally). Typically 10–15% of your budget should be allocated for research and evaluation, and may be expected to be included by program funding organisations.