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Research Projects

COVID-19 Social Data Banks

Research Team:
Dr Ong Qiyan, Social Service Research Centre
Dr Jeanette Renema, Social Service Research Centre
Mr Ho Zhi Wei, Social Service Research Centre
Mr Timothy Teoh, Social Service Research Centre

The COVID-19 Social Data Bank aims to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social service clients and professionals. Over the course of twelve weeks, the project will collect anonymised case data from social service professionals via an online survey on a weekly basis. Analysis of such high frequency data will serve to identify emerging trends and needs in the sector. These are then delivered in bite-size insights to the public through weekly infographics covering topics like service user needs, underutilised resources and service gaps. Overall, the data bank will further our understanding of the provision and use of social services amid a surge in demand for social assistance during the pandemic.

For more information, Please Click Here

For the latest updates:
Covid 19 Social Data Bank


Multi-site evaluation of the Geriatric Services Hubs

Research Team:
Dr Tan Woan Shin, Joint Faculty, Geriatric Education and Research Institute (GERI) and Principal Research Analyst , NHG HSOR
Dr Edward Tan, Geriatric Education and Research Institute
Dr Serene Nai, Geriatric Education and Research Institute
Ms June Teng, Geriatric Education and Research Institute
Mr Sean Nicholas, Geriatric Education and Research Institute
Mr Robin Choo, Geriatric Education and Research Institute
Dr Robyn Tan, Social Service Research Centre

Geriatric Services Hubs (GSH) are complex interventions with multiple interacting components, involving different organisational partners providing different levels of care to frail older persons living in the community. In this multi-site evaluation study involving hospitals, primary care providers and community agencies, the evaluation team seeks to provide an assessment of the implementation of the pilot GSH programme, the quality of care and health outcomes, the client and caregiver experience, and the impact on service use and cost.

Partnering Agency:

Geriatric Education and Research Institute (GERI)


In-Work Poverty and the Challenges of Getting by among the Young

Research Team:
A/P Irene Y.H. Ng, Department of Social Work & Social Service Research Centre
A/P Ho Kong Chong, Department of Sociology & Asia Research Institute
Dr Mathew Mathews, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Policy Studies
A/P Vincent Chua, Department of Sociology
Dr Ong Qiyan, Social Service Research Centre
Dr Neo Yu Wei, Social Service Research Centre
Dr Caroline Lim, Department of Social Work
Mr Asher Goh, Social Service Research Centre
Mr Timothy Teoh, Social Service Research Centre

Funded by the Social Science Thematic Research Grant (Type B), this project seeks to gain new insights on the kinds of “in-work” poverty that the working class are experiencing. It will focus on the challenges faced by lowly educated young workers (aged between 21 and 40) and their efforts at advancement, an area that has received less attention. Using traditional and technology-based mixed methods, the project will gain deep and wide understanding of the lived realities of younger low-waged workers through surveys, interviews, ethnographic studies, and data inputs using a mobile application. Through these, we hope to understand the interactions of work and earnings with young workers’ mental health and cognitive ability, and how they use their social networks to navigate jobs, family and advancement.


Understanding Neighbourhood Experiences in HDB Estates

Research Team:
A/P Ho Kong Chong (Associate Professor, FASS, NUS)
Dr Ong Qiyan (Deputy Director (Research), SSR, NUS)
Ms Nursila Senin (Research Executive, SSR, NUS)
Ms Cliona Yong Fern Anne (Research Executive, SSR, NUS)
Mr Ho Zhi Wei(Research Executive, SSR, NUS)

This study aims to understand the lived experiences of residents in HDB blocks and neighbourhoods with different flat types. Specifically, the study seeks to explore and understand the effects of the physical environment on the everyday experiences and social interactions of residents, and the implications for neighbourhood design and social service delivery.

Partnering Agency:

Ministry of National Development


Enhancing Positive Outcomes in Youth Offenders and the Community (EPYC)

Research Team:
Dr Li Dong Dong (Adjunct Research Fellow, SSR, NUS)
Ms Kala Ruby(Adjunct Research Fellow, SSR, NUS)
Dr Adam Oei(Adjunct Research Fellow, SSR, NUS)
Ms Chan Sze Qian (Project Coordinator, SSR, NUS)
Ms Nyx Ng (Research Associate, SSR, NUS)
Mr Carl Yeo (Research Associate, SSR, NUS)
Mr Aaron Lim ( Research Associate, SSR,NUS)
Ms Maureen Ngo (Research Assistant, SSR, NUS)
Ms Nur Atika Zainal Abidin (Research Assistant, SSR, NUS)
Ms Hannah Wee Su-Ann (Research Assistant, SSR, NUS)
Ms Lee Si Hui (Research Assistant, SSR, NUS)
Ms Chong Xiu Ting (Research Assistant, SSR, NUS)
Ms Mathana D/O Rajandran (Research Assistant, SSR, NUS)
Ms Valerie Ho Sze Lei (Research Assistant, SSR, NUS)
Ms Nadira Binte Mohd Iesham(Research Assistant, SSR, NUS)
Ms Nurul Binte Ahmad Rubangi (Research Assistant, SSR, NUS)

The EPYC study is a 10-wave longitudinal study of three cohorts of youth offenders and their families in Singapore. The study hopes to examine risk and protective factors, the developmental trajectories of various youth offenders, as well as the processes involved in the successful reintegration of these youth into our society. In particular, we recognise that the families and the immediate community play important roles in such rehabilitation and reintegration efforts, hence these will also be a focus in the study.

Partnering Agency:

Ministry of Social and Family Development

Understanding Decisions on Financial Assistance for Low-income Households

Research Team:
Dr Ong Qiyan (Deputy Director (Research), SSR, NUS)
Dr Neo Yu Wei (Research Fellow, SSR, NUS)
A/P Irene Y.H. Ng (Associate Professor, NUS)
Mr Tan Jian Qi (Research Executive, SSR, NUS)
Ms Mayves Gan (Masters Student, NUS)
Ms Bavani Pillai (Senior Social Worker, KKFSC)
Ms Chew Jia Hui (Assistant Senior Social Worker, KKFSC)

The study aims to understand the individual and group decision-making processes of social service practitioners when making financial assistance assessments. The study will explore different considerations faced by social service practitioners, such as the role of financial assistance and their experience with clients receiving financial assistance. The findings will further our understanding of financial assistance and enable improvements in financial assessment policies and practice to better assist clients in need.


Evaluation of Social Service Offices (SSOs)

Research Team:
Asst. Prof Ng Kok Hoe (Assistant Professor, NUS)
A/P Irene Y. H. Ng (Associate Professor, NUS)
Dr Mathew Mathews (Senior Research Fellow, IPS, NUS)
Dr Ong Qiyan (Deputy Director (Research), SSR, NUS)
Mr Asher Goh (Research Executive, SSR, NUS)

This study aims to assess the effectiveness of the SSOs by focusing on the relationship between service integration, service delivery process, and client outcomes. It compares the different models of SSO operation in terms of integration with Workforce Development Agency (WDA) services, reviews how practices differ across the various models, and examines the implications for client outcomes such as service satisfaction, employment, and incomes. The study is expected to be completed in around three years.

Partnering Agency:

Ministry of Social and Family Development


Study on Families Living in Public Rental Housing

Research Team:
Dr Neo Yu Wei (Research Fellow, SSR NUS)
A/P Noor Aisha Binte Abdul Rahman (Associate Professor, NUS)

Statistics suggest that there is a sizable number of families with children aged below 15 years living in public rental flats in Singapore. Within a context of high home ownership rate, literature has suggested that the minority living in rental housing will be stigmatised. Studies have also systematically shown that social housing have been negatively correlated to children’s outcomes. This study seeks to understand the lived experiences of families with children as they enter, remain or leave the public rental housing environment. In particular, the study will examine the individual and environmental factors, including the strategies families have adopted and the barriers they faced, to create a “home” for themselves. By understanding how families construct the meaning of “home”, this study seeks to inform social policies and services targeted at providing an affordable, good housing environment for lower-income families.

Partnering Agency:

Ministry of National Development


Evaluation of Circle of Care (COC) Programme

Research Team:
A/P Kenneth Poon (Associate Dean, Education Research , NIE)
Dr Nirmala Kuruppiah (Head, Early Childhood & Special Needs Education, NIE)
Dr Neo Yu Wei (Research Fellow, SSR, NUS)
Ms Lim Kian Ying, Joyce (Research Executive, SSR, NUS)

The COC study seeks to understand the effectiveness of the Circle of Care programme, an early childhood intervention programme targeted at improving child development outcomes and positive family functioning. The COC is run by Care Corner and distinctive components of the programme include an integrated inter-disciplinary team of social workers, preschool teachers, principals and volunteers from the community working together on the care and educational plans of young children at-risk.

Partnering Agency:

Circle of Care


Evaluation of the Mandatory Counselling Programme

Research Team:
Dr Robyn Tan Hwee Teng (Research Fellow, SSR, NUS)
Dr Ong Qiyan (Deputy Director (Research), SSR, NUS)
Mr Zach Lee Jin Yong (Research Executive, SSR, NUS)
Ms Nursila Senin (Research Executive, SSR, NUS)

The study aims to examine the Mandatory Counselling Programme (MCP), a court ordered counselling programme targeted at family members who have used, or have experienced violence, by understanding what works, for whom, under what circumstances and why, from the perspective of practitioners and clients, and how best practices can be adapted across different sites. MCP is funded by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and delivered by over 60 social service agencies. The programme aims to help perpetrators become aware of their abusive behaviours, and find alternative responses without resorting to the use of violence and provide victims and other vulnerable family members with the necessary support and skills to ensure safety.

Partnering Agency:

Ministry of Social and Family Development


Household Budgets for Elderly People in Singapore

Research Team:
Dr Ng Kok Hoe (Assistant Professor, LKYSPP, NUS)
A/P Teo You Yenn (Associate Professor, NTU)
Dr Neo Yu Wei (Research Fellow, SSR, NUS)
Dr Adlina Maulod (Research Fellow, CARE Duke-NUS)
Ms Ting Yi Ting (Research Executive, SSR, NUS)

This study establishes an adequate household budget for elderly persons with different household compositions in order for them to attain a basic standard of living in Singapore. Unlike expenditure studies that construct budgets through what people expend, the methodology adopted in this study is based on a unique consensual design developed by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, UK. Through a series of consensual methods, elderly persons become the experts on what their basic needs are, allowing the research team to draw up a more accurate household budget that reflects elderly people’s actual needs, with annual updates in line with price inflation.

Partnering Agency:

International Longevity Centre (ILC)
Tsao Foundation


Study on Low-Income Households with Debt

Research Team:
A/P Irene Y.H. Ng (Associate Professor, NUS)
Dr Ong Qiyan (Deputy Director (Research), SSR, NUS)
Dr Walter Theseira (Senior Lecturer, SUSS)
Ms Lim Ying Xian (Research Assistant, Social Work Department, NUS)
Ms Mayves Gan (Research Assistant, SSR, NUS)

This mixed-methods longitudinal study sought to understand the impact of a one-time debt relief on chronically indebted, low-income households in Singapore. Through a comprehensive household financial survey that included measures of cognitive functioning, risk-taking, and psychosocial functioning of over 200 debt relief program beneficiaries, and in-depth semi-structured interviews with selected respondents, researchers established that debt relief led to immediate improvements in cognitive functioning, reduction in symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, risk aversion and present-biasedness immediately after debt relief. The effects were more strongly related to the number of types of debts cleared than the magnitude of debts cleared. Overall the study shows that debt creates bandwidth tax on the indebted poor, impairing their cognitive performance and affects their decision-making, and a debt relief program which targets at reducing debt accounts may be more effective in alleviating the cognitive load of the poor. Analysis on debt relief beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries one year later is in progress.

Related Links:
The Debt Relief journal

Press Release:
NUS Press Release
The Straits Times: Chronic debt hurts ability of the poor in Singapore to make good decisions
Today Singapore : Debt-relief can help poor make better decisions
Medicine News Line : Debt relief improves psychological and cognitive function, enabling better decision-making
7th Space : Debt relief improves psychological and cognitive function, enabling better decision-making
Science Daily : Debt relief improves psychological and cognitive function, enabling better decision-making
Ars Technica : Why debts associated with poverty can cause long-lasting problems
Medical Xpress : Debt relief improves psychological and cognitive function, enabling better decision-making
Futurity : TO CUT ANXIETY, AIM FOR FEWER DEBT ACCOUNTS
MSN : Getting rid of debt may actually make your brain work better
Morningstar : Getting rid of debt may actually make your brain work better
MailOnline : Paying off debt can help your brain think more clearly and make better decisions, study finds
MarketWatch : Getting rid of debt may actually make your brain work better

Partnering Agency:

Methodist Welfare Services


Evaluation of Transnational Family Support Programme

Research Team:
Dr Ong Qiyan (Deputy Director (Research), SSR, NUS)
Dr Neo Yu Wei (Research Fellow, SSR, NUS)
Ms Ting Yi Ting (Research Executive, SSR, NUS)

This study evaluates the efficacy of the Transnational Family Support Programme (TFSP) targeted at helping transnational couples in Singapore cope with their marital transition. This mixed method study involves both quantitative survey data collected from programme participants and qualitative data from focus group discussions with service providers, programme participants and volunteers.

The marital workshops are found to be effective in transferring marital knowledge to the participants. Our study highlights three aspects which could improve the effectiveness. First, the couples show strong interest in bread-and-butter/practical issues such as work and residency matters, parenting issues and community resources. These could be weaved into the content of the workshop. Second, participants may find it challenging to understand more abstract concepts such as models on building good relationships and communication techniques. Helping them to put the concepts to practice will be very helpful. Finally, communication barrier is the key challenge in conducting a workshop for transnational couples. Hence, good translated contents in various languages and/or good translators are crucial.

Partnering Agency:

Ministry of Social and Family Development
Care Corner
Fei Yue


Evaluation of Community Resources and Opportunities for Students (CROPS) Pilot Programme

Research Team:
Dr Peace Y.J. Wong (Senior Lecturer, NUS)
A/P Choo Hyekyung (Associate Professor, NUS)
Ms Au Yong Leng Jacqueline (Deputy Director, SSR, NUS)
Ms Mayves Gan (Research Assistant, SSR, NUS)

The Community Resources and Opportunities for Students (CROPS) model for Student Care Centres (SCC) Is a service delivery framework envisioned to enhance SCC’s capacity to holistically serve the developmental needs, increase resiliency and develop the potential of students from lower income, at-risk and dysfunctional families in the community. The study sought to understand the effectiveness of CROPS and how it has improved the outcomes of at-risk children.

Both quantitative and qualitative findings suggest that CROPS has positively impacted the children, SCC staff and parents. Overall, students who received CROPs-based intervention made significant improvement as compared to their counterparts in the comparison groups, in 43 outcome indicators measured, after intervention. Qualitative data also revealed positive impact on parent-child outcomes as families received stronger academic support for their children from the community and schools. Increased competence is managing children, felt by SCC staff from their CROPS training also translated to improvements in different desired child outcomes, such as improvement in self-confidence, self-management and relationship skills.

Finally, to increase the effectiveness of CROPS, the research team made their recommendations which includes, establishing a shared understanding of the CROPS service delivery framework with all stakeholders including parents, and providing platforms for sharing of best practices to enable various SCCs to develop their own unique services/ programmes that are targeted at children in the local context.

Partnering Agency:

Ministry of Social and Family Development


Community and Home-based Care for Older Adults in Singapore

Research Team:
A/P Elaine Ho Lynn-Ee (Associate Professor, NUS)
A/P Shirlena Huang Swee Lian (Associate Professor, NUS)
Ms Amy Tan (Project Manager, NUS)
Mr Koh Ren Jie (Research Assistant, NUS)

As Singapore’s population ages, increasing numbers of older adults and their families require resources that allow older adults to age-in-place. This study seeks to identify the strengths and weaknesses in our caregiving system for older adults, and generate appropriate responses to further strengthen Singapore’s caregiving capabilities in sustainable ways.

Related Links:
Publications

Press Release:
Care Where You Are - Enabling Singaporeans to Age Well in the Community
Cost a concern for seniors who want to 'age in place': Lien Foundation-NUS study

Partnering Agency:

Lien Foundation