COMPASS seminars 2016

Impact on the Family Start Home Visiting Programme on Outcomes for Mothers and Children: A quasi-experimental study

Rhema Vaithianathan

Professor Rhema Vaithianathan, Moira Wilson, Professor Tim Maloney, Associate Professor Sarah Baird

8 December 2016 

Family Start workers make regular home visits and, using a structured program, seek to improve parenting capability and practice. Using used rich linked administrative (de-identified) data for children born between 2004 and 2011, this study applied two quasi-experimental methods to establish the effectiveness of the programme. One method estimated the effect of the programme on children and mothers who received Family Start by comparing their outcomes with those of a “matched control group”. The other method involved estimating the change in outcomes for high needs groups of babies and mothers when Family Start is made available in their area. The results indicate that the enhanced Family Start programme that was phased in to new areas between 2005 and 2007 was associated with statistically significant positive impacts in a number of domains.

Suicide postvention: support for Pacific communities

Jemaima Tiatia-Seath

Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath

13 October 2016

We sought to engage Pacific communities in New Zealand to elucidate culturally relevant ways of supporting those bereaved by suicide, and to develop Pacific suicide postvention guidelines. We conducted a survey was conducted among those bereaved by suicide (i.e. family, friends, peers, work colleagues etc., n = 173) as well as service providers (i.e. health professionals, social and community workers, nurses, spiritual leaders etc., n = 70).

Further qualitative exploration was undertaken via 16 Pacific focus groups (n = 74). The findings highlighted: the need to destigmatise suicide postvention formal support; the need for culturally appropriate suicide postvention training; culturally competent ways of supporting families; the demand for Pacific postvention guidelines; and the recognition that the make-up of Pacific communities should be reflected in postvention initiatives.

Jemaima Tiatia-Seath is a lecturer in Pacific Health, School of Population Health, the University of Auckland. Her research and teaching interests include: Pacific suicide prevention and postvention; youth development; Pacific health and mental health wellbeing; inequalities in health; and Pacific Studies.

Decomposing the temporary-permanent wage gap in New Zealand

Gail Pacheco

Associate Professor Gail Pacheco

6 October 2016

Recent years have seen a push for greater labour market flexibility, and an accompanying upsurge of interest in temporary employment and the negative outcomes often associated with such employment arrangements. This study focuses on the pay outcome and investigates the presence of unexplained wage penalties for the temporary workforce in NZ. This country is a useful case study for such an analysis, because of the low levels of employment protection legislation afforded temporary workers, relative to the rest of the OECD.

The temporary-permanent wage gap is assessed via two alternative methods: Oaxaca decomposition and Nearest Neighbour matching (NNM). Analysis is conducted for the aggregate group of temporary workers, as well as the sub-groups of fixed term, casual, temp agency and seasonal workers. Results across the alternative methods are fairly comparable and robust, with no wage penalty evident for fixed term workers, and a sizable unexplained wage difference for casual workers. There is also support for the glass ceiling hypothesis with movement up the wage distribution associated with a widening of the predicted wage gap.

Gail Pacheco is an Associate Professor in the Economics, and Director of the NZ Work Research Institute at AUT. She has considerable experience leading funded projects involving both academic and industry collaborations (with for instance the Department of Labour, the Blind Foundation, Productivity Commission, United Nations Women, and Coca-Cola Amatil NZ). She is an applied empirical and labour economist and also currently holds the post of Editor-in-Chief for New Zealand Economic Papers.

VIEW2020: a programme of vascular risk predictor and risk management research

Rod Jackson

Professor Rod Jackson

29 September 2016

VIEW stands for Vascular risk, Informatics, Epidemiology & the Web. The objectives of the VIEW research programme are to improve the accuracy of vascular risk prediction and identify and help close evidence-practice gaps in vascular risk management, at both the individual patient and population levels.

The focus of the VIEW research programme is on developing and applying Vascular risk prediction tools, because the absolute benefits of most vascular risk reducing interventions depend on patients’ absolute vascular risk, but there are few accurate risk prediction tools available and even fewer have been validated in New Zealand populations.

VIEW is an Informatics programme because risk prediction research requires very large numbers of participants and we link our participant data to even larger national and regional routine health datasets.

The main study design used in the VIEW programme is the large-scale prediction/prognostic cohort study – a classic Epidemiological study design.

VIEW investigators have recruited hundreds of thousands of patients by developing Web-based clinical tools that help primary and secondary care clinicians manage their patients’ vascular risk while simultaneously recruiting large-scale research cohorts.

This presentation will describe the design of, and present interim findings from, the three cohort studies established by the VIEW investigators; one in primary care (PREDICT), one in secondary care (ANZACS-QI) and one that includes almost every New Zealand adult (VARIANZ).

Rod Jackson is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Auckland with 35 years of experience in vascular disease epidemiology. For the last 25 years his main research focus has been on vascular risk prediction.

Intergenerational investments or selling ancestors: Māori perspectives of privatising electricity generating assets

Marama Muru-Lanning

Marama Muru-Lanning

22 September 2016

Against the wishes of many Māori and non-Māori New Zealanders, the National government partially privatised Mighty River Power (now known as Mercury) and Meridian in 2013, and Genesis Energy in 2014. Using kaitiakitanga (guardianship) as a lens I will examine how contemporary privatisation processes redefine Māori relationships with their lands, resources and ancestral territories.

My research introduces some of the moral dilemmas and ethical contradictions that emerge for iwi-Māori in relation to neoliberal privatisation. My study asks: how do iwi understand the sale of electricity companies that draw on natural resources which Māori recognise as: tūpuna (ancestors), taonga (treasures), atua (super-natural beings) and whānau (family); have Māori become shareholders in electricity assets; and how might being shareholders mediate their duties as kaitiaki?

This presentation will reveal the complex range of Māori experiences and responses to privatisation and contribute to scholarship on the impacts of privatisation on indigenous peoples.

Marama Muru-Lanning is a Senior Research Fellow and Acting Director at the James Henare Māori Research Centre. She is an advisor of elderly health projects in the School of Population Health. Her research is primarily concerned with debates and critical challenges in social anthropology where she focuses on the cultural specificity of Māori and their unique sense of place and belonging in New Zealand. What distinguishes Marama as a social scientist is her specialisation in water rights, environment and indigenous issues. She currently holds a Royal Society Marsden Research Grant, is the Chair of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania and is a Council member of the Journal of the Polynesian Society, New Zealand’s oldest scholarly journal. Marama is from Tūrangawaewae Marae and is of Waikato Tainui and Ngāti Maniapoto descent.

“Gold standard” versus research in practice: Practical examples from educational research

Victoria Cockle

Victoria Cockle

15 September 2016

Evaluation is one of the most challenging aspects of research. The reality of evaluating interventions is often far removed from textbook examples of gold standard evaluation. Educational interventions are never one-size fits all. Schools will adapt interventions to suit their own needs. This flexibility is essential to ensure uptake of the intervention, however it presents a set of challenges in terms of evaluation.

This talk will discuss the challenge of designing and conducting high quality research within the dynamic and complex environment of the New Zealand education sector. I will discuss a range of research measures and approaches, together with issues to do with moderation and bias in using these measures in practice with ‘real’ participants. Real-time problem solving, research design modification, and “how to make the best of it” will be described using practical examples.

Victoria Cockle has extensive experience in educational research within NZ schools. At this time she was lead researcher for The Starpath Project: Phase Three and the Evaluation of the Implementation of Manaiakalani Outreach.

The question of sexual orientation

Lara Greaves

Lara Greaves

8 September 2016

Sexual orientation is an important part of many New Zealanders’ identities, yet the last time someone measured sexual orientation in a national sample was 2003/04. The research team behind the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) sought to remedy this by asking a national probability sample of 18,000 New Zealanders the open-ended question: “How would you describe your sexual orientation?”

In this talk I discuss some of the challenges we faced in measuring sexual orientation, estimates of the proportion of New Zealanders that identify with different sexual orientations, and the amazing diversity of responses that people expressed. I overview a series of papers looking at the differences and similarities that we have found across sexual orientation and discuss future plans to follow longitudinal change in sexual orientation.

Lara Greaves (Ngāti Kurī, Ngāpuhi) was at this time a PhD student in the School of Psychology working with the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS). Her PhD research investigated how different aspects of Māori identity predict political behaviour. Lara’s research interests include sexual orientation, mental health, survey methodology (including retention and sampling), political polling, and politics more broadly. After having managed the NZAVS for 4 years, Lara worked as a Research Assistant at COMPASS Research Centre.

View a recording of the seminar

The university as an infinite game

Niki Harré

Niki Harré

1 September 2016

According to the philosopher James Carse (1986), life is comprised of at least two kinds of games. One is finite games, in which the object is to win, and the other is the infinite game in which the object is to invite others in and keep the game in play. The premise of this talk is that, at its best, the university is the infinite game par excellence. It is a site in which all players’ insights are welcomed, new knowledge is co-created, and we are deeply and creatively engaged with the ongoing social debate about how to live well together. However, all too often, we as academics find ourselves entranced by the finite games on offer (such as the PBRF game, the grants game, the attracting “top” students game) and lose sight of the possibilities for infinite play. While some of this could be attributed to the “neoliberal university”, we are also complicit in the maintenance of these games by pursuing and proffering the rewards they promise.

This talk will suggest ways to revive the infinite ethos at universities, including self-reflection, subversive networks and a willingness to give up on winning the finite games that lead us astray. Data from a research project with 1,085 New Zealand participants in infinite game workshops will also be discussed.

Carse, J. (1986). Finite and infinite games. New York, NY: The Free Press.

Niki Harré is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland. Her recent research projects have focused on sustainable communities and schools, positive youth development and political activism. In 2007 Niki edited, with Quentin Atkinson, the book Carbon Neutral by 2020: How New Zealanders Can Tackle Climate Change. In 2011 she released a second book, Psychology for a Better World: Strategies to Inspire Sustainability. Her current work looks at the Infinite Game as a metaphor for living well together.

Data-driven evaluation of policy initiatives

Michael O’Sullivan

Dr Michael O’Sullivan

25 August 2016

With the diversity and depth of data becoming available, utilising data to inform decisions is now feasible in many sectors. In this talk I will present three case studies that demonstrate how data can be and is being used to help either determine new policy initiatives or evaluate proposed policy initiatives. One case study is from a regional health perspective, one is from a national health perspective (using national datasets), and the third is from a national, cross-sector perspective (using the Statistics NZ Integrated Data Infrastructure – IDI).

Michael O’Sullivan is a Senior Lecturer in Engineering Science, Theme Leader for Precise and Timely Healthcare, in the Precision Driven Health Research Partnership, and Associate Investigator in Te Punaha Matatini. His research specialty is Operations Research (OR) and, in the recent years, combining OR with Analytics. He formed the research group ORUA, specialising in utilising OR and Analytics to develop intelligent systems. ORUA’s research into OR and Analytics provides intelligence in many application areas including:

  1. Healthcare – ORUA researchers are investigating models for providing OR/Analytics for healthcare systems including data-driven optimised rosters for General Medicine, optimal rostering and dispatch for Patient Transit, and simulation and optimisation for surgery scheduling;
  2. Cloud Computing – ORUA’s intelligent cloud programme is pioneering concept of OR/Analytics-based intelligence modules and these modules combine with cloud computing modules such as Compute, Store, and Connect to provide intelligent clouds;
  3. Government – ORUA researchers are analysing data and forecasting future demand for government services. They will use this data and these forecasts to determine the best way to provide these services and identify the need for future investment.

ORUA’s research programmes also realise new tools for OR and Analytics. This work provides innovative tools for use across all the application areas.

Practical data publishing and discovery for the social sciences

Cameron McLean and Matthew Moore

Cameron McLean and Matthew Moore

18 August 2016

This seminar covered how the University of Auckland’s institutional Figshare pilot service could be used to disseminate, distribute, and discover research data. Further discussion centred around best practice for documenting data sets in order to maximise their potential impact.​ Cameron McLean and Matthew Moore are Research IT Specialists at the Centre for eResearch, the University of Auckland.

The Figshare implementation is at http://auckland.figshare.com and COMPASS has its own archive within that at http://auckland.figshare.com/compass, largely replacing our earlier efforts working with the Australian Data Archive and NESSTAR software.

Cameron McLean’s background is in Molecular Biology and Computer Science. With a strong focus on researcher enablement, his current work revolves around digital scholarship and helping researchers utilise digital tools in a manner that links with the core values of research and scientific enquiry.

Matthew Moore's background is in Psychology, Marketing, and Software Engineering. He currently works on the researcher-focused aspects of the University’s pilot data management systems, with a view towards enabling open, reproducible research, and efficiently leveraging existing data.

Beyond measurement artifacts: Integrating measurement equivalence with theory development in cross-cultural research

Gordon Cheung

Professor Gordon Cheung

11 August 2016

Measurement equivalence/invariance (ME/I) is a general term that can be applied to the comparison of the various components of measurement models, and can sometimes be extended to structural models and mean structures. ME/I is most commonly considered as a condition that should be met before meaningful comparisons of survey results across groups can be made. In this presentation, Gordon demonstrates that measurement (non-) equivalence is not necessarily measurement artifacts. He explains how various tests of ME/I can be used to examine different phenomena in cross-cultural research and how to integrate these phenomena in the theory development process in cross-cultural research. Finally, he demonstrates a newly developed method for testing ME/I that can be used to estimate the magnitude of cross-cultural differences in the ME/I context.

Gordon Cheung joined the University of Auckland Business School as Professor of Organizational Behaviour in January 2016. He obtained his BBA from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and his PhD in management from Virginia Tech. Gordon is well recognised internationally as an expert in structural equation modeling, especially in measurement equivalence/invariance and estimation of moderating and mediating effects in complex latent variable models. He has published more than 20 articles in research methodologies, which have been cited over 7,000 times. He has twice received the Sage Best Paper Award from the Research Methods Division of the Academy of Management (2000 and 2009) and in 2008 the Best Published Paper Award in Organizational Research Methods. He served as the Division Chair of the Research Methods Division of the Academy of Management in 2006/07 and is currently a member of the Editorial Board of Organizational Research Methods, member of the International Scientific Advisory Panel for the Behavioural Sciences Institute (BSI) at Singapore Management University and member of the International Advisory Board, Center for the Advancement of Research Methods and Analysis (CARMA) in USA.

A Knowledge Laboratory of the early life-course

Barry Milne

Dr Barry Milne

4 August 2016

The ‘Knowledge Lab’ microsimulation project aims to integrate ‘best evidence’ from systematic reviews and meta-analyses into a working model of the early life course (from birth to age 21). Models for three outcomes will be described:

  1. overweight/obesity;
  2. education (early cognition; school performance; NEET); and
  3. mental health (depression, substance abuse),

including the development of conceptual frameworks, and populating the model with ‘best’ estimates from meta-analyses and accurate NZ prevalence of risk factors. I will demonstrate how the model can be used to test specific scenarios around improving child outcomes.

Barry Milne is Senior Research Fellow and Associate Director of the COMPASS Research Centre. He has a Masters degree in Psychology from the University of Otago, and a PhD in Psychiatric Epidemiology from Kings College London. His interests are in longitudinal and life-course research, and in the use of large administrative datasets to answer policy and research questions.

View a recording of the seminar

Data, development and sovereignty

Andrew Sporle

Andrew Sporle

28 July 2016

Indigenous nations are already making use of big data to inform their own development. This presentation will outline the international and national contexts for indigenous data sovereignty, highlighting how these contexts inform Māori aspirations about the governance and application of Māori data. Māori organisations and individuals are already working in the 'big data' space, with Māori driven initiatives changing the collection, presentation and governance of data at the national and local level. These initiatives include new ways of measuring Māori outcomes in Auckland, a Māori GIS framework for official data, and an online tool for comparing outcomes and inequality between populations.

Andrew Sporle is a Māori researcher based in the Statistics Department at the University of Auckland, where he teaches in courses on survey methods, official statistics and statistical literacy. A former Maori research manager at the HRC, his current research interests include indigenous statistics, social inequities and the creation of tools for accessing and applying existing official data. Much of his research consulting work since 2000 has involved big data in the health and social sectors, including being part of the original development team for PRIMHD. He is a founding member of Te Mana Rauraunga and an organiser of the first Indigenous Open Data Summit in Madrid later in October 2016.

The Integrated Data Infrastructure: New Zealand’s bold data experiment

Barry Milne

Dr Barry Milne

3 June 2016

The Statistics New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) is a collection of de-identified administrative data sets (e.g. on health events, justice contacts, education enrolments, tax paid) that have been linked at the person-level for the whole New Zealand population. IDI is made available for research purposes only. Initial users of the IDI have tended to come from the government sector, though an increasing number of academic researchers are beginning to explore its use. In this talk I will describe the IDI, its construction, its legal and ethical underpinnings, the development of protections against privacy and confidentiality breaches, its uses, and its future.

Barry Milne is Senior Research Fellow and Associate Director of the COMPASS Research Centre. He has a Masters degree in Psychology from the University of Otago, and a PhD in Psychiatric Epidemiology from Kings College London. His interests are in longitudinal and life-course research, and in the use of large administrative data sets to answer policy and research questions.

Introducing lower zones for analysing neighbourhood patterns of health and social outcomes across New Zealand

Dan Exeter

Dr Daniel Exeter

27 May 2016

There is growing interest in the influence a neighbourhood has on health and social outcomes. Researchers and policy analysts have used geographical boundaries constructed for national censuses to report small-area, or ‘neighbourhood’ patterns. In New Zealand, we commonly use Meshblocks (MBs) or Census Area Units (CAUs) in our analyses. While users can easily associate MBs with ‘a street’ and CAUs with ‘a suburb’, the considerable variation in their population distributions can be problematic for small area research.  In this presentation, we outline the development of an intermediary geography for New Zealand, in which the 45,989 MBs from the 2013 Census were aggregated into 5,958 ‘Lower Zones’ (LZs), as an intermediary in size between MBs and CAUs. We then demonstrate the application of these new geographical boundaries using data from the 2013 Census and from routine health databases.
   
Daniel Exeter is a Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology at the University of Auckland. He is a quantitative health geographer and has a background in Geographical Information Systems and spatial analysis. Using large datasets such as the census or routine health databases, his research aims to identify, and provide solutions to inequalities in health. He is currently leading research to deliver a new measure of neighbourhood disadvantage in NZ, and was recently awarded Marsden funding to conceptualise socioeconomic position among the elderly population. He is a co-investigator on the HRC-VIEW programme of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction research, where he uses big data to investigate the geographical variations in treatment, outcomes and CVD-related service utilisation.

Child poverty and wellbeing in Australia

Melissa Wong

Dr Melissa Wong

20 May 2016

Until recently little was known about how young people in general, and those who are disadvantaged in particular, conceptualise and perceive their own wellbeing and how this relates to other aspects of their lives. The Australian Child Wellbeing Project, conducted by researchers in Flinders University and the University of New South Wales between 2012 and 2015, is a child-centred study in which young people’s views have been used to investigate the wellbeing of Australian children in their middle years. This seminar draws on data collected from the Australian Child Wellbeing Project and presents evidence relating to the deprivation status of young people in Australia and how this correlates with wellbeing measures in the areas of health, family and school satisfaction.

Melissa Wong is a Research Fellow at the Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales. Her main interests are in the measurements of poverty and income inequality as well as multidimensional measures of wellbeing. She has undertaken a wide range of projects funded by the Australian Research Council and commissioned from government and non-government organisations.

Watch a recording of the seminar

Demographic differences in impact of beliefs upon achievement – non-invariance by sex, age, and ethnicity in conceptions of assessment upon achievement

Gavin Brown

Professor Gavin Brown

May 13 2016

Student beliefs about the purposes and nature of assessment have been examined using the Student Conceptions of Assessment inventory (SCoA-Version 2). The four beliefs (i.e., assessment makes students accountable, assessment evaluates schools, assessment is enjoyable, assessment is irrelevant) have substantial impact upon test scores (R2≈.25). In a survey of New Zealand secondary (Years 9–12) students (N=3,506), the factor structure of the SCoA-2 inventory was equivalent across student sex, year-level, and ethnicity. However, using multiple group invariance testing in a structural equation model, statistically significant differences for sex, year, and ethnicity were found for how the four conceptions of assessment related to academic performance in reading. It is argued that these differences do not indicate a deficiency in the SCoA inventory but, rather, demonstrate sensitivity to real-world differences among subgroups. The structural differences can be understood in terms of sex differences in approaches to learning, year differences in experience with the New Zealand national qualifications assessment system, and ethnic differences in experience of bias and prejudice in schooling. This study was published as: Hirschfeld GHF & Brown GTL (2009). Students’ conceptions of assessment: Factorial and structural invariance of the SCoA across sex, age, and ethnicity. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 25(1), 30–38. doi: 10.1027/1015-5759.25.1.30

Gavin Brown is the Director of the Quantitative Data Analysis and Research Unit in the Faculty of Education and Social Work. His research revolves around testing, assessment, psychometrics, and social and psychological responses to and effects of assessment. He is the lead editor of the forthcoming Handbook of Human and Social Conditions in Assessment published by Routledge.

Detecting adverse events in physicians’ notes using text mining

Matthias Schonlau

Professor Matthias Schonlau

May 6 2016

This talk has three goals:

  1. introduce text mining
  2. introduce Stata programs for text mining
  3. discuss the challenges in detecting adverse events in NZ physicians’ notes (joint work with Peter Davis and Roy Lay-Yee). This is work in progress.

Matthias Schonlau is a Professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo. Prior to his academic career, he spent 14 years at the RAND Corporation (USA), the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin (Germany), the German Institute for Economic Analysis (DIW), National Institute of Statistical Sciences (USA), and AT&T Labs Research (USA). He is on sabbatical at the University of Auckland until July 2016. His research interests evolve around survey methodology with a current emphasis on categorizing open-ended questions using text mining. He is the lead author of the book "Conducting Research Surveys via Email and the Web".

Evaluating the impact of vaccines – exploring a potential effect of the MeNZB™ vaccine on gonorrhoea

Janine Paynter

Dr Janine Paynter

29 April 2016

Observational data from Cuba and Norway suggest a limited effect of the use of a protein-based meningococcal B vaccine against gonorrhoea. Neisseria gonorrhoeae the bacteria that causes gonorrhoea and Neisseria meningitidis, a bacteria which causes meningitis are related. Based on DNA- DNA hybridisation there is between 80–90% homology of primary sequences between N. gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis. Is there an effect? It is a tantalising question! New Zealand’s immunisation against meningococcal B from 2004–2008 plus comprehensive documentation of immunisation with MeNZB™ for safety purposes, New Zealand’s national health index, the Integrated Data infrastructure and good sexual health clinic records enable us to conduct both a retrospective case-control and cohort study which tests for an effect of the MeNZB™ vaccine on gonorrhoea in New Zealand. I’ll be discussing the approach we have used for the case-control study and describing the cohort study as examples for assessing vaccine effectiveness in a country with world class national health data.

The project is led by Dr Helen Petousis-Harris, funded by Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics AG (a member of the GlaxoSmithKline group) and sponsored by Auckland UniServices Ltd.

Janine Paynter studied science at the University of Adelaide. She has had an unconventional career path with research experience on caddis flies, nematodes, powdery mildew, phytoplasmas in sugar cane, weedy legume ecology  (PhD research) and seems to have settled in public health/epidemiology with 8 years’ experience in tobacco control and two years in vaccine epidemiology.

Using complexity theory in policy work: More than a model but less than a revolution

Mat Walton

Dr Mat Walton

22 April 2016
 
What does the application of complexity theory mean for policy analysis and evaluation? A whole new paradigm with radical implications for methodology, or some interesting techniques within the evolution of policy work? Drawing upon recently completed research projects looking at the application of complexity theory within policy analysis and evaluation, this presentation will consider the implications of a complexity paradigm for programme design, governance and evaluation. It will argue that there are many opportunities for complexity to influence policy work, yet the most radical applications will come when complexity is coupled with other, sometimes older, approaches.

Mat Walton is a senior lecturer in the School of Public Health, Massey University. Mat conducts research within the field of public health policy, with particular focus on the application of complexity theory to policy analysis, intervention design and evaluation. Prior to undertaking a PhD at the University of Otago, Mat worked as a policy analyst within both central and local government.

Homes for ex-prisoners: Housing provision and support after release in New Zealand

Alice Mills and Grace Gordon

Dr Alice Mills and Grace Gordon

Friday 15 April 2016

Re-offending by ex-prisoners is a significant problem in New Zealand with approximately 40 percent being re-imprisoned within the first three years after release. Existing international studies have suggested that permanent, stable housing can reduce the risk of recidivism on release from prison by up to 20 percent. Despite the potential importance of housing in prisoner reintegration, no comprehensive picture exists of specialist housing provision and support for people leaving prison in New Zealand, although such provision is generally thought to be patchy and inadequate. This presentation will draw upon telephone interviews with housing providers and other agencies in New Zealand to illustrate the strengths and weakness of existing housing provision for ex-prisoners. We argue that stable housing can represent more than just a roof over someone’s head but can also be a crucial part of ensuring that ex-prisoners feel a valued part of the community.

Alice Mills is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences. She has extensive experience of researching prisons and prisoner reintegration. In 2002 she was the lead researcher on the UK Social Exclusion Unit’s report on ‘Reducing Re-Offending by Ex-Prisoners’ and this, along with several of her studies on the role of NGOs in criminal justice, triggered her initial interest in housing for ex-prisoners. She has recently completed a small project on the housing needs of vulnerable populations in New Zealand.

Grace Gordon is a BA(Hons) student in Criminology and was a summer scholar in 2015/16 when she completed research on housing provision and support for ex-prisoners in New Zealand. She has been a volunteer for Just Speak for two years and is currently President of the Auckland Just Speak on Campus club.

Criminal genius: How we know what little we know about high-IQ crime

James Oleson

Associate Professor James Oleson

Friday 8 April 2016

Intelligence is said to be the most studied human faculty, and within criminology, below-average intelligence (operationalised as IQ) is a well-established correlate of delinquency and crime. Nevertheless, even though the association between low IQ and crime has been studied for nearly a century, little is known about offenders with high IQ scores.

A handful of studies have examined bright delinquents; virtually no criminological research has been conducted with gifted adults. This is an elusive population. The current research describes the self-reported offending of 465 high-IQ individuals (mean IQ=148.7) and 756 controls (mean IQ=115.4) across 72 different offences (ranging in seriousness from abuse of work privileges to homicide).

This presentation will focus on the design and implementation of the study and the analytical work performed by COMPASS. It will also describe some key findings, such as the unexpected discovery that high-IQ respondents reported higher prevalence and incidence rates than did controls.  

James Oleson is an Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Auckland. After a stint in the US Navy’s nuclear propulsion programme, he earned his BA in psychology and anthropology from St. Mary’s College of California, his MPhil and PhD in criminology from the University of Cambridge, and his JD from the University of California, Berkeley. He taught criminology and sociology at Old Dominion University until he was selected as one of the four U.S. Supreme Court Fellows for the 2004-05 year. At the end of his fellowship, he was appointed as Chief Counsel to the newly-formed Criminal Law Policy Staff of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and served in that capacity between 2005 and 2010. Since arriving at the University of Auckland in 2010, he has taught in the areas of psychological criminology, sentencing, and penology. In 2013, he used his sabbatical to study prison museums across Europe and the United States, and is working on a book about prisons in popular culture. His monograph on high-IQ offenders, Criminal Genius: A Portrait of High-IQ Offenders, will be published in late 2016 by the University of California Press.

Evaluating outcomes of health services when you can’t do an experiment. How about a quasi-experiment?

Tom Robinson

Tom Robinson

Friday 1 April 2016

Health services are constantly needing to change, and in many cases the outcomes of these changes need to be evaluated. However, usually RCTs cannot be undertaken. This presentation will consist of two parts:

  • A review of current NZ practice in health services – non-experimental outcome evaluation. After searching 4 databases and the NZ Medical Journal, 52 health service outcome evaluations were found that used non-experimental methods, and these were evaluated against the Cochrane Collaboration's Effective Practice and Organisation of Care group guidance. Most studies did not meet the criteria for inclusion in Cochrane reviews because of their study design. Of those that could be included, only a minority had no or only few areas of potential bias.
  • A presentation of a quasi-experimental outcome evaluation which was completed in 2013 at Waitemata DHB. An outcome evaluation was undertaken of a programme that aimed to reduce readmission to hospital within a month of discharge. The results will be presented of a number of different evaluation designs including uncontrolled before and after, an interrupted time series, and a regression discontinuity design. Some of the issues encountered in carrying out quasi-experimental studies will be discussed.

Tom Robinson is a public health physician and works three days a week in the Planning and Funding Team for Auckland and Waitemata DHBs. Some of this work involves advising on and undertaking evaluation of health services. He is also undertaking a PhD with the School of Population Health which is looking at the role of quasi-experimental methodology in evaluating the outcomes of our health service changes. Key questions are whether current practice is satisfactory, whether quasi-experimental designs can produce valid assessments of the causal effect of interventions, whether these methods are feasible, and how they should be undertaken.

Using data from Youth2000 to inform clinicians, research and policy

Simon Denny and Terry Fleming

Dr Theresa Fleming and Associate Professor Simon Denny

Friday 18 March 2016

The Adolescent Health Research Group at the University of Auckland has been tracking the health and wellbeing of young people in New Zealand with the Youth2000 survey series in 2001, 2007, and 2012. The team has been using innovative and world leading technology to administer the survey, and has surveyed more than 25,000 young people to date. This presentation will discuss the results from these surveys, place the results in the context of global trends and discuss how the Youth2000 surveys have been used to examine social environments such as socioeconomic deprivation, schools and communities, and their relationships with student health and wellbeing. There will be time to discuss plans for the next survey and opportunities for collaboration.

Simon Denny & Terry Fleming are investigators with the Adolescent Health Research Group, carrying out the New Zealand adolescent health surveys (The Youth2000 series). They are the nominated co-leads for the next planned Youth2000 survey. Simon is an adolescent specialist physician and is an Associate Professor in Child and Youth Health in the Department of Paediatrics. Terry is a Senior Lecturer in Youth Health/Youth Mental health in the Departments of Paediatrics and Psychological Medicine. Her major research areas are in online interventions for youth mental health and population youth health and wellbeing.

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Youth Poverty Compass
(1.3 MB, PDF)

Socioeconomic status and all-cause mortality: life course hypotheses in New Zealand

cp-liza-bolton

Liza Bolton

Friday 11 March 2016

Socioeconomic status (SES) has been shown to be related to mortality in a range of contexts. Low SES tends to increase mortality risk, but how exposure patterns across the life-course are related to mortality is not well understood, and have not been explored in the New Zealand context. This research uses New Zealand longitudinal census data to explore whether there is evidence of associations between mortality and cumulative exposure to low SES (accumulation hypothesis), changes in SES between life stages (social mobility hypothesis) and exposure to low SES during specific life stages (sensitive period hypothesis). Understanding these hypotheses in the New Zealand context may allow for better-targetted interventions to address mortality inequalities, for example, disparities between ethnic groups.

Liza Bolton is a PhD Candidate in Statistics at the University of Auckland, working with the Centre of Methods and Policy Application in the Social Sciences (COMPASS). Liza began her PhD in March 2015, under the supervision of Professor Alan Lee (Department of Statistics) and Dr Barry Milne (COMPASS).

Dynamic microsimulation of programs and investments to reduce poverty and support development

Martin Spielauer

Dr Martin Spielauer

Friday 4 March 2016

Microsimulation is currently applied mostly in developed countries for the analysis and fine-tuning of policies with a longitudinal component like the sustainability of pension and health systems in the context of demographic change. This discussion aims at assessing the potential strengths and limitations of dynamic microsimulation in the context of applications for the developing world. With its ability to simultaneously handle distributional issues, population change, and the potentially strong demographic down-stream effects of policies, dynamic microsimulation can serve as a powerful tool complementing conventional data analysis and projections. Given the typically early stages in the design and implementation of social security systems, together with highly vulnerable populations, today's policy decisions potentially have huge impacts both on current living conditions and future development.

Martin Spielauer is an expert in dynamic microsimulation with 15 years of experience in microsimulation modeling. He has developed or contributed to models in a wide range of subject matter fields including demography, education, saving and wealth, pension systems, poverty, and health. He has been engaged in microsimulation projects and microsimulation training around the world. Martin has published both in peer-reviewed journals as well as publications of governments and international agencies. He is currently working as an independent consultant providing technical assistance in microsimulation model development.