Injecting truth in an era of fake news

While overall statistics may suggest that Glebe has a higher than average income level, the numbers don’t reflect the real picture – quite the contrary is the case. Census data shows that Glebe ranks among one of the most divided Sydney suburbs in terms of income levels.

Senior Research Analyst at the Business School, Dr Gillian McAllister, joined a research team to help understand the issues behind these numbers. Thanks to their efforts, the community organisations in and around Glebe now have a much better idea of community needs and can be more strategic in their service provision.

According to Dr McAllister, approaching social and public matters with an evidence base has never been more important than today.

“I’m a rational person and this global trend of ‘Fake News’ is deeply disappointing and frustrating. It is just a matter of time before it becomes common practice here in Australia.

“Especially in policy and government negotiations, decisions can greatly affect the lives of real people. Inequality is a worrying problem across Australia and it is important that these debates are based on rigorous research and factual evidence,” Dr McAllister explains.

With a long research history in the areas of policy and academia, Dr McAllister not only cares about the information that is out there, but also the information that isn’t.

“In the academic context, there are always limitations to what we can research, and in the corporate sector there are often confidentiality clauses that restrict what can be published and openly talked about.

“Research is never perfect, but it is critical to use it and inject some evidence into policy discussions – because their impact on people’s everyday lives really matters,” she says.

Banner image: Graffiti on the side of a building showing a black hand holding a white hand and the text “respect 2037”.

Case study

The Problem

Glebe ranks among the Sydney suburbs with the highest rates of income inequality. The many community organisations tackling the issues lack the time and funding to evaluate whether their work is having the desired impact.

The Response

The Glebe Project was launched to shed some light on the community needs and whether current services are addressing them.

What helped accomplish this?

By mapping out the various support networks and analysing government data, the research team has been drawing a picture of the community requirements and gaps in support.

What has changed as a result?

Thanks to this evidence base, the Glebe community is better placed to direct their efforts and funds into areas that require attention.

 

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