Start date:
April 2016
End date:
March 2018
Economic and Social Research Council


This project builds on previous research undertaken by the team. It will utilise a mixed methods approach, combining secondary analysis of existing datasets, development of case studies, documentary analysis and a series of interviews to investigate the impact of Faith-Based welfare provision on social cohesion.

The project will proceed using a mixed methods design starting with a secondary analysis of existing data sets to identify sources of social cohesion data. Primarily it will use the British Crime Survey and data from faith-groups and local government on levels of voluntarism and involvement of FBOs in welfare delivery to help create a map of cohesion levels across Wales.

The qualitative component will involve a three-site case study using different locations in Wales to explore the role of FBOs in service delivery. Locations will be drawn from the above analysis on the basis of cohesion levels. The case studies will combine semi-structured interview surveys with documentary analysis and secondary analysis of published data and reports.

Documentary analysis will proceed by reviewing national policy documents and initiatives, local policy documents for the three chosen locations and the local media. This will concentrate on the expectations of FBOs as service providers and connections between these expectations and perceived outcomes.

The semi-structured interview survey(s) (15 interviews per site, a total of 45 semi-structured interviews altogether) will recruit respondents purposively including: policy-makers, FBO service providers, user groups and communities. This will develop the material gained from the documentary analysis by adding in the perceptions of the relevant actors about any potential or perceived gaps between expectations and outcomes. 

The non-participant observations will be used to cross check the conclusions drawn from the other data sources.

Research Questions



  • Six peer-reviewed journal articles directed at:
  1. Journal of Social Policy
  2. Social Policy and Administration
  3. Social Policy and Society
  4. Critical Social Policy
  5. Voluntary Sector Review
  6. Sociological Research Online
  • One monograph aimed at Policy Press
  • Two conference papers. One of the conference papers, to be delivered at the Social Policy Association conference, will be part of a proposed symposium about the role of faith-based organisations in the delivery of public services.

Research team
Nick Johns
Senior Lecturer in Social and Public Policy
Cardiff University
Alison Green
Staff Tutor, Open University
The Open University

Journal Articles
Multi-level systems and the electoral politics of welfare pluralism: Exploring third-sector policy in UK Westminster and regional elections 1945-2011
VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 25(3) pp 585-611 Electoral politics is a decisive formative and programmatic phase in the development of mixed economy approaches to social protection. This study examines the main issues and policy...
Seminar Cardiff street pastors: A case study
29th April 2015 |
This seminar provided an overview of a multi-faceted, multi-method research project incorporating the views of Street Pastors, key stake holders and decision makers, students and members of the general public in the night time economy (NTE)...

Themes: Civil Society