ARK Research Centre: Research support for voluntary and community sector

Each year, the ARK Research Centre carries out a set amount of work for voluntary and community sector organisations that is free of charge. This will facilitate access the most up-to-date social and political information by organisations which are not in a position to pay for such work.

In addition, ARK provides research advice, support and training to individual organisations, including:

Research training: Research on the Road (2012)
Following the success of the Research on the Road events in Omagh and Newry in 2011, ARK ran a similar half-day course in Belfast.

Survey advice: Advice NI (2011)
Advice NI ran a survey exploring the impact of welfare reform / cuts on people in Northern Ireland. ARK provided advice on the questionnaire design.

Research training: Research on the Road (2011)
ARK ran a half-day course entitled 'Research on the Road' which focused on data use and collection. This course was run in Omagh and in Newry as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science.

Research training: Man Matters (2011)
ARK ran a half-day course entitled 'Accessing and Collecting Data: How and Why' which focused on data use and collection, with a particular focus on information of use for those involved in men's work. This course was run in association with Man Matters.

Research training: NICVA Members' Day (2010)
ARK presented a session 'Assessing the need for your project' at the NICVA Members' Day, which explored the need for different types of information, as well as how to access and collect data.

Research Training: NICVA (2007-2010)
In association with Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA), ARK runs a 5-day course on research methods for the voluntary and community sector.

Research advice: Community Arts Forum (2010)
Community Arts Forum are planning a participatory research project, and consulted ARK about research methodology.

Research proposal advice: RNIB (2010)
ARK provided advice to RNIB on a research project focusing on participatory research. In particular, ARK commented on the research methodology and implications for inter-regional comparisons.

Childline (2009)
ARK provided advice to the Childline Youth Forum Northern Ireland (CLYFNI) on how to design a survey on young people’s knowledge of, and attitudes towards, emotional and mental health services for young people. CLYFNI is a group of young people aged 12-20 years that represents young people’s interest in Childline. CLYFNI initiated this research project and advise was given on questionnaire design, sampling and on issues relating to confidentiality and informed consent.

Research proposal advice: Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust (2008)
The NI Music therapy Trust approached ARK for advice on a research proposal. ARK provided advice on the methodology and the research question, as well as suggesting potential academic partners and possible funders.

Collation of data on local males: The Men's Project (2007, updating original reports produced in 2004, as well as a reports in 2010-2012 to coincide with Men's Health Week)
ARK worked with The Men's Project to produce a local version of the 'Social Focus on Men' report produced by National Statistics. This provides an overview of the changing lives and roles of men in Northern Ireland across a range of topics.

The Men in Northern Ireland (MINI) series consists of reports based on 6 specific themes (all available in PDF format):


Tudor Renewal Area Residents' Association (2005-6)
ARK worked with the Residents' Association on a community survey, the results of which will feed into the Tudor Neighbourhood Strategy. ARK helped with questionnaire design, data analysis and the preparation of the report, as well as providing survey and statistical advice.


Survey of users: Headway Belfast (2004)
In autumn 2003, Headway Belfast undertook a review of their services, which included a user satisfaction survey. ARK analysed the survey data and prepared a report, as well as advising on a future research strategy.


Survey of service need: Deafblind UK (2004)
ARK worked with Deafblind UK to devise a questionnaire to establish the need for services amongst its members across Northern Ireland. Once the fieldwork had been undertaken, ARK analysed the data and produced a report.


Feasibility survey for the provision of dialysis service: Share Holiday Village (2004)
This feasibility study involves a survey of current renal dialysis users to assess the level of interest in developing a holiday dialysis facility at the Share Holiday Village. ARK worked with the team to prepare the questionnaire and produce the report. Fieldwork was organised by the Kidney Patients' Association, and data input was undertaken by a volunteer from Share.


Survey advice: Shine FM (2004)
ARK provided advice on how to contact and consult with listeners of Shine FM, a community radio station operating in Banbridge. This included specific advice on how to run focus groups.


Data sources advice: Fermanagh Trust (2004)
ARK produced a fact sheet on possible sources of statistical information relating to disability within Fermanagh. This was used by the Fermanagh Trust's Community and Voluntary Group Mentoring Support Programme.


Youth leadership programme evaluation: Terry Enright Foundation (2004)
ARK is following five young people throughout the Terry Enright Leadership Award programme 2004/05. ARK will assess how the programme has affected the participants in terms of their understanding of the importance of peacebuilding; the value of role models which young people can identify with;the potential of young people from disadvantaged communities.


    Volunteer Development Agency (2004)
    In order to celebrate the Year of the Volunteer in 2004, the Volunteer Development Agency proposed the publication of research outlining the impact volunteering has had in an organisation or an area. ARK provided advice on the possibility of such research based on case studies, and highlighted that impact indicators can only be measured longitudinally


    Survey of demographic characteristics and housing need of population in Donegall Pass area (2003)
    This project was carried out with the Donegall Pass Community Forum. ARK designed a questionnaire suitable for self-completion by the 600 households in the area. ARK then analysed the data and produced a report.



    Demographic characteristics of 3 wards in Comber (2003)
    A group associated with Community Change wished to develop a series of community projects within Comber, County Down. In order to tailor these to the population, it was necessary to access recent information on the population. ARK produced a report based on information from two freely-available data sources:



    Inner City South Belfast Sure Start (2002)
    ARK designed a series of questionnaires for a research project exploring the use of baby clinics. Separate questionnaires were designed for users and non-users of baby clinics, as well as for members of the Chinese community and key workers. ARK then analysed the data and prepared a report.


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Disclaimer: © ARK 2002 Last Updated on Monday, 11-Jun-2012 9:22