Study protocol: Developing a decision system for inclusive housing: Applying a systematic, mixed-method quasi-experimental design
Authors: Heidi Zeeman, Elizabeth Kendall, Jennifer A. Whitty, Courtney Wright, Clare Townsend, Dianne Smith, Ali Lakhani, & Samanth Kennerley
Background: Identifying the housing preferences of people with complex disabilities is a much needed, but under-developed area of practice and scholarship. Despite the recognition that housing is a social determinant of health and quality of life, there is an absence of empirical methodologies that can practically and systematically involve consumers in this complex service delivery and housing design market. A rigorous process for making effective and consistent development decisions is needed to ensure resources are used effectively and the needs of consumers with complex disability are properly met.
Methods/Design: This 3-year project aims to identify how the public and private housing market in Australia can better respond to the needs of people with complex disabilities whilst simultaneously achieving key corporate objectives. First, using the Customer Relationship Management framework, qualitative (Nominal Group Technique) and quantitative (Discrete Choice Experiment) methods will be used to quantify the housing preferences of consumers and their carers. A systematic mixed-method, quasi-experimental design will then be used to quantify the development priorities of other key stakeholders (e.g., architects, developers, Government housing services etc.) in relation to inclusive housing for people with complex disabilities. Stakeholders randomly assigned to Group 1 (experimental group) will participate in a series of focus groups employing Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) methodology. Stakeholders randomly assigned to Group 2 (control group) will participate in focus groups employing existing decision making processes to inclusive housing development (e.g., Risk, Opportunity, Cost, Benefit considerations). Using comparative stakeholder analysis, this research design will enable the AHP methodology (a proposed tool to guide inclusive housing development decisions) to be tested.
Discussion: It is anticipated that the findings of this study will enable stakeholders to incorporate consumer housing preferences into commercial decisions. Housing designers and developers will benefit from the creation of a parsimonious set of consumer-led housing preferences by which to make informed investments in future housing and contribute to future housing policy. The research design has not been applied in the Australian research context or elsewhere, and will provide a much needed blueprint for market investment to develop viable, consumer directed inclusive housing options for people with complex disability.