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Social and Institutional Research Program

1999 - 2009

The Social and Institutional Research Program researched the human dimensions of natural resource management (NRM), including socio-economic ssues.

This program commissioned research on the social and institutional dimensions of land and water issues. The portfolio on understanding, supporting and informing people working in natural resources management (NRM). Most importantly, the program believed that people are an important ‘natural resource’, and tried to invest in projects that produced useful, relevant and meaningful results.

Over the period of the current LWA Strategic Plan 2005-10, SIRP - together with partners from research, government and NRM sectors - will invested over $8M in research to address priority NRM social science issues.

SIRP was established in 1999, and ran for ten years over two phases.

What is Social and Institutional Research

Research in the humanities and social sciences explores human, individual and social behaviour and culture. Within this broad field, the Social and Institutional Research Program focuses on social, economic, legal, policy and institutional areas, learning at both the individual and group levels.

Some relevant disciplinary fields in these areas, for example history, are represented in both the humanities and social sciences. The Social and Institutional Research Program is concerned mainly with the social sciences, including economics and for the Program’s purposes is what we refer to as Social and Institutional Research.

There is no agreement in the academic community on how the social science areas identified above should be defined or the scope of their concerns; they take many and varied forms depending on the purpose and context of inquiry. However, as a guide, the following explanations of these fields are outlined below:

Social Research

Refers to relations of the individual to others, or aggregates of individuals forming groups. Social research also explores forms of knowledge and bases of understanding and perception including cross-cultural analysis.

Economic Research

Concerns the allocation of scarce resources to satisfy alternative, and often competing, human wants.

Policy / Institutional Research

Considers public policy processes, public administration and program delivery at the institutions where these operate.

Legal Research

Identifies gaps and inconsistencies at a formal level through analysis of the relevant legislation and case law, and also investigates how law and legal processes operate in practice.

id: 3077 / created: 07 April, 2009 / last updated: 11 September, 2009