We focus on people 

“Social science is a category of academic disciplines, concerned with [human] society and the relationships among individuals within a society” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_science, 2018).

Social science offers social and behavioural explanations to provide understandings of how the world works.  Social scientists investigate interpersonal and intrapersonal behaviour.  They draw on a number of social science ‘branches’, and therefore use a variety of research approaches and methods.

Social science research enables insights into how people behave and their underlying decision making processes. Some of the social science ‘branches’ we draw on in immunisation research are anthropology, communication studies, linguistics, political science, psychology, public health, and sociology.

The term ‘social research’ is commonly used to refer to work done by researchers from various disciplines who share the same aims and use similar, relevant research tools and methods.

Social science methods and social research at NCIRS

Our goal is healthy [and happy] people.

Social research forms a central aspect of NCIRS’s original mandate and connects with a range of NCIRS activities, including policy development, evaluation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research, adverse events and communication. We also participate in external grant-funded research, with a variety of academic/research partners and groups.

New knowledge generation

At NCIRS, we use social science methods and approaches to understand vaccination behaviour and decision making. We also research behaviour, decision making and communication of healthcare providers engaged in vaccination conversations with community members.

Our research seeks to understand factors influencing the uptake of vaccines relevant to Australia’s National Immunisation Program.  This work often describes immunisation-related beliefs, attitudes and practices of individuals and families, and health professionals. We also seek to identify barriers to vaccination acceptance experienced by the community and to make recommendations about how it might be possible to remove and/or reduce such obstacles. Barriers could include anything, from where services are located to skill/knowledge deficits of healthcare providers or appropriate information sharing. Our research also extends to mass communications research, such as news and social media analyses. Additionally, we conduct evidence syntheses using social science approaches, with the aim of informing policy, program and practice decisions.

Subsequently, we use evidence from a variety of sources to develop effective and useful ‘decision aids’ to assist parents and others in their decision making around vaccination, for example, MMRV vaccine decision aid.

Last updated January 2019