Communication services and research - Groundwork Associates

Communication services and social research

High-end writing when getting the words right really matters. Groundwork consultants can help frame information for the best effect. Senior consultants can also provide communication and writing coaching and strategic support. Experienced social researchers in the team can design and execute research, analyse and interpret data, and report results effectively. Technical editing and proofreading services are also available.

Selected projects

These projects have been selected from our comprehensive portfolio to provide an overview of our communication services and social research work.

Growing team capacity and effectiveness by reviewing core roles, skills, and project work

DairyNZ’s Feed and Farm Systems Team sought support to better define their team in order to grow within DNZ and enhance collaboration with other business units. Groundwork Associates facilitated a workshop, using various methods to explore team members’ roles and traits, and identify the key skills of individual team members and the unit as a whole. The Groundwork team also introduced a portfolio template to help the Feed and Farm Systems team review their past and current project work and communicate their collective CV. The overall process elucidated and clarified the team’s vision and aspirational goals for the future. Following a productive initial workshop, Groundwork provided facilitation coaching and support for the DNZ Team Leader to complete the team’s strategic analysis.

Applying for an environmental protection award

The Environmental Research Institute (ERI) at the University of Waikato sought to grow the profile of their institute by applying for an environmental science achievement award. They application required a colloquial and laudatory tone with appropriate scientific terminology, and the ability to coordinate all supporting materials. Groundwork interviewed the institute leaders to hear their achievements in their own words then skilfully merged our technical reporting ability with our public relations expertise to encapsulate the work of four accomplished scientists into a six-page award-winning application. We then standardised all CVs and coordinated supporting materials such as reference letters, research publications and built a website to present the application documents.

Reviewing progress on an Outcome Based Investment (OBI) in Lake Biodiversity Restoration

The University of Waikato had to demonstrate delivery on outcomes established in their MSI funded investment. Groundwork reviewed the results achieved by the science team in terms of science quality, end-user engagement, Vision Matauranga, and research toward national objectives, and generated a report that was presented before an MSI panel in Wellington.

Editing and proofreading water quality and hydrology reports

The Investigations and Monitoring Team at Environment Canterbury needed to communicate technical water quality and hydrology information to a well-informed audience. Groundwork edited quality scientific reports written by different members of their team, and established an active voice with uniformity across the different authors in alignment with their style guide. Along with the edited reports, Groundwork produced tailored editing notes, supporting the scientists to identify common writing pitfalls. The notes helped teach the scientists and ultimately improved their writing skills.

Investigating liveweight monitoring on dairy farms

Cognosco wanted to know how dairy farm owners, managers and sharemilkers use liveweight data to make decisions. The job required technical agricultural system knowledge and the ability to draw out insights from a range of farmers. Groundwork designed and facilitated a dual-method approach with focus groups and a survey to explore current weighing technology and data use, and how farmers wanted to use it in the future. A thorough analysis and comprehensive report presented the rich data that emerged.

Groundwork were professional, reliable and personable. They delivered on what was required.” Chris Compton, Research Project Manager, Cognosco

Informing change in effluent management practice

DairyNZ needed independent social research to understand influences on farmer behaviour to support improvements in effluent management in Northland. Groundwork developed a research plan, conducted interviews with farmers and project stakeholders and delivered the findings and recommendations in a report to influence DairyNZ strategy.

Developing effective extension of a national conference’s key messages

Waikato Regional Council, a sponsor of the 2012 ‘Tools to Farm Within Limits Conference’, wanted to extend the event’s learning value after the national conference closed. Groundwork hired a video production company to produce short video clips of the event. We created a conference-branded Vimeo channel to host the content, which was comprised of interviews with conference participants and speakers and advanced critical points from the events’ presentations. The Vimeo channel URL was made available to speakers, delegates and the public through the conference website, developed and managed by Groundwork.

Visit our “2012 Tools to Farm Within Limits Conference” website here.

Supporting a research funding bid

The University of Waikato wanted to developing funding proposals for the Ministry of Science and the Innovation Fund. Groundwork worked with delegated proposal writers, supplying review and editorial assistance to ensure research concepts were communicated clearly and wording was geared strongly towards the Ministry’s stated funding objectives.

Groundwork provided a thorough and effective editing service which helped transform technical information into a presentable and consistent format. They also provided insightful input to organise and structure funding bids.” – Kevin Collier, Associate Professor, University of Waikato

Enhancing the impact of a Primary Growth Partnership proposal

The New Zealand Fertiliser Research Institute required editorial assistance and a fresh eye to incorporate a research partner’s input into a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) proposal. Groundwork worked with the research partner to develop the required text and used ‘track changes’ to suggest changes which could improve the proposal’s impact and reviewed the document for clarity and consistency.

Building an effective dairy sector extension approach

DairyNZ wanted to understand existing farmer networks and partner with them to extend their reach and impact within the farming community. Groundwork completed interviews with farmers to help analyse and view social networks and relationships, delivering the information required to enhance DairyNZ’s work.

Channelling stakeholder input into biodiversity management strategy

Environment Bay of Plenty wanted to progress a strategic approach to biodiversity management in Whakatane-Ohope’s high-value ecological areas. Groundwork facilitated a workshop for key stakeholders to determine content for an RFP, wrote and edited the workshop notes to provide an accurate record of their ideas and then wrote the RFP itself. Groundwork became lead consultant for the project, designing and facilitating two further workshops to progress the management strategy.

Quick development of a manual for community facilitators

Community Waikato needed help to develop a collection of notes and references into the first draft of a facilitation training manual in a very short timeframe. Groundwork completed the job to deadline and contributed extra support by researching and filling gaps in the manual outline.

Proofreading “Waters of the Waikato”

The editor of a joint Environment Waikato/University of Waikato publication needed a fresh set of eyes to proof the book. Groundwork completed the review, contributing to the professionalism of the end result.

Improving consistency and presentation of a national soil management guide

The National Land Monitoring Forum was producing a manual to help standardise local government approaches to soil and land monitoring. Each chapter had been developed by different authors. Groundwork edited and formatted the material into a consistent, easy-to-read document suitable for publishing and printing from the web.

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand Organic Dairy and Pastoral Group

As part of the Grow Organic Dairy project, Groundwork coordinated logistics for nine farming couples and five Massey University scientists to visit nine farms throughout the Waikato and Taranaki region for an intensive information gathering and experiential learning process.

Reporting on integrated catchment management results

Environment Waikato’s Integrated Catchment Management Team needed to summarise progress on projects examining on-farm nutrient management issues in two Upper Waikato catchments. The reports would be used to update councillors and encourage other farmers in the catchments to get involved. Groundwork compiled and developed reports which were technically sound while still being accessible to a general audience.

Communicating air quality report findings to the public

Environment Waikato wanted help with a report for a project exploring social and cultural issues affecting changes required to improve air quality (and therefore public health) in Tokoroa. Groundwork edited the document, produced an executive summary and a community summary, which captured the project background, assessment findings and recommendations in a short, plain-English document.

Gathering expertise on greenhouse gas emissions

The Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium and DairyNZ wanted to collect information from New Zealand scientists and professionals specialising in the minimisation of methane and nitrous oxide gas emissions from farms. Groundwork helped the client develop the survey, conducted it and produced a report which discussed and prioritised components, models, systems and technologies that are in use or could be used.

Groundwork has wide experience in both the interview and survey approach, and the technical aspects of agriculture, environmental issues and social sciences. They gave good value for money. Working with them was a wholly pleasant experience and I would be happy to repeat it on other suitable projects.” Dave Clark, DairyNZ

Enhancing knowledge transfer

MAF’s Sustainable Farming Fund managers wanted to encourage SFF-funded project teams to communicate more effectively about their progress and outcomes. Impressed with our performance in the NZFEA Trust’s ‘Learning from Leaders’ project, MAF SFF invited Groundwork to develop and deliver a training workshop on effective communications strategy for MAF SFF projects.

Addressing learning needs for women in the dairy sector

The Network for Women in Dairying wanted help to develop and deliver a series of seminars for women in dairying. Groundwork provided programme design and event coordination services, using its sector knowledge and networks to formulate seminar topics, secure speakers and help develop promotional and presentation material.

Understanding, very personable, timely, not bogged down by the big corporate stuff and [they have] a genuine understanding of adult education. They’ve been great to work with and I look forward to working with them in the future.” Lynda Clark, Network for Women in Dairying.

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