The intention of this article is to alert practitioners of the need to engage with research and to appreciate the range and specific roles of organisations undertaking research and the purposes for their findings. The paper seeks to describe the difficulties research findings bring if not used within their limitations, and fully conscious of their motivation.
The paper illustrates the issues through the example of research studies published over several years on homelessness amongst former Services personnel – “veterans”.
The paper finds that understanding research findings within the context of the original purpose of the commissioner is crucial if managers are to understand the need for changes in practice – in this case working with homeless people with an ex‐military background. With this proviso, housing organisations can use research to evidence the issues they are encountering to a wider audience, notably policy makers and secondary, to establish new directions for Services that are then more accurately designed to meet actual and emerging needs.
This paper encourages housing organisations, especially those working with people whose needs are partly specific to their cohort, to integrate research into their main business functions, i.e. to underpin their business plan.
This is a rare account to appear in print, tracing the history and drawing conclusions from this particular area of research.
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