General Social and Community Research

Our ability to blend quantitative and qualitative research techniques – along with an understanding of the practical challenges facing nonprofits and government agencies – has allowed us to assist many agencies with evaluations, strategic plans, and needs assessments. Our grasp of the potentials and pitfalls of community indicators also helps us determine if programs are making any lasting or wider impacts. We can analyze and we can advise, as neither is much good without the other!

Survey Design and Analysis

We conduct survey research using questionnaires (mail surveys, group administered questionnaires, household drop-off surveys) and interviews (personal interviews, telephone interviews), being mindful of population, sampling, question, content, bias, administrative and issues associated with survey research.

Strategic Planning

We help organizations plan for where they are going over the next year, five years, or more; how they are going to get there; and how to tell whether they got to where they wanted to go. We assist them in defining clear objectives, formulating a future strategy, implementing the plan, and how to plan its evaluation, which will help them anticipate outcomes, as well as making the necessary adjustments needed for them to reach their goals and objectives.

Community Needs Assessment

Community needs are assessed in a systematic manner over time in order to elicit practical and   useful information about their specific needs to better inform policy makers and program managers as to how best to serve the intended group.

Selected Recent Examples

Almost all of our projects – particularly our social impact and our survey research experience – involve some form of public input and/or facilitation of stakeholder advisory groups. It is an integral aspect of our work. Below are selected efforts that feature particularly extended programs of working with community groups, government agencies, and nonprofits over months or years:

  • 2014-15 Economic and community development analysis of issues associated with efforts to develop support community for West Hawai‘i new Pālamanui campus for University of Hawai‘i.
  • 2011-14  Evaluation of multi-million dollar National Science Foundation “EPSCoR” grant to improve research capacity at UH-Hilo, Chaminade, Kapi‘olani Community College, and UH-Mānoa.
  • 2007 Department of Education program evaluations – we assisted the DOE in preparing short-fuse assessments of eight programs for the Board of Education.

  • 2006-07 Community interviews and outreach for Kamehameha Schools' strategic planning effort for O’ahu North Shore lands.
  • 2006-07 Public Housing Social Program Needs Assessment – with FAQ Hawai‘i, we designed and analyzed in-person surveys of nearly 1,300 public housing residents statewide, web surveys with 57 social service providers, focus groups, qualitative interviews of resident managers and prospective employers, and conducted a gap analysis to determine key service needs by region.
  • 2005-09 Program Performance Measures Reporting System: Hawai’i Coastal Zone Management (accountability reporting to National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration). We assisted the State Office of Planning in working with all its partner agencies to develop and report annual Hawai’i indicators to the federal government for the new CZMA Performance Measurement System.
  • 2004 “Native Hawaiian Community Survey” – A statewide survey of nearly 2,000 Native Hawaiian households, involving extensive examination of Hawaiian cultural and language practices, as well as demographic characteristics, household composition, and educational attainment. Prepared for the Kamehameha Schools. We have also assisted KS with design of a “Native Hawaiian Quality of Life” survey in 2008 and survey/evaluation of a scholarship program in 2010.
  • 2002-04 Public input/outreach for “Sustainable Tourism Study” (2002-04) – ongoing meetings of a multi-stakeholder working group (visitor industry, environmentalists, Native Hawaiians, county planners) that produced a consensus vision that was then largely incorporated into the Hawai’i Tourism Authority's strategic plan … convened and worked with a Native Hawaiian Advisory Group over two years … held two rounds of public meetings on all islands.
  • 2001-2004 Summative Evaluation: Pacific Asian Consortium for the International Business Education and Research (PACIBER) – Diploma Program. This three-year project, included tracking Master's-level exchange students at universities around the Pacific, surveys of faculty and students in innovative web-based courses, and input from school Deans and Directors.
  • 2001 Research for Lanakila Rehabilitation Center's Strategic Planning. Secondary research, focus groups, and other guidance for center for disabled adults. Involved extensive interviews with various government and nonprofit agencies involved with assistance to adults with mental or physical challenges.
  • 1988-2007 Design and/or analysis of eight major statewide surveys – sponsored by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority and/or the Dept. of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism – to measure resident attitudes toward the state's largest economic activity. Samples ranged from 1,000 to nearly 4,000. We have more experience in this policy research area than any other organization in the state.

In addition to these extended engagements, Dr. Knox has chaired and facilitated many public meetings, conferences, and seminars on a pro bono basis – including faculty and student input to the University of Hawai’i's Strategic Plan, and negotiations between the Hawai’i State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism and the Governor of Cebu (Philippines) on implementing sister-state relationships.