Pathways conducts research into social issues – gathering the data that policy makers and workers need to inform decisions and funding bids. We interview people in person, on the phone and in small groups. We specialise in open questions to gather the richest of data – helping people to tell stories about their experiences of the places they live, work and play in. Techniques like Appreciative Inquiry, Non Violent Communication and Spaceshaper are key approaches we use. Here we look are two of our research projects.

Runcorn Hill and Heath Activity Plan

As part of developing a Round 2 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid for Runcorn Hill and Heath Park, Halton Council needed to develop an Activity Plan for the park. Pathways began by pulling together all existing data and identifying where new information was needed. Three key areas were highlighted – the need for more qualitative information about how people used the park at the moment and what they thought of it; a more vibrant communication of the park’s potential and heritage ‘offer’ and finally more robust data about the patterns of use of the park currently.

runcorn scrap book pic

Pathways therefore: interviewed 120 people locally in a qualitative survey;  worked with eight community groups to help communicate the work in the park; undertook ‘dawn to dusk’ research, mapping where people used the park and what activities they were doing. We pulled this data together into a compelling and visually exciting, 48 page Activity Plan in June 2012 – which included 19 worked up and costed project ideas for getting more people engaged. The HLF bid was successful and work is underway!

Dunwood Park User Survey

At Dunwood Park in Oldham we conducted a User Survey of nearly 300 local people to get accurate baseline information about the park’s users and non users.  This work was written up into a detailed User Survey against which the progress of the Heritage Lottery Fund Activity Plan can now be measured. To build in sustainability we then trained the Friends Group to conduct future surveys themselves.