Social, economic and health impacts of WaveLength's work with loneliness and isolation

The overarching aim of the project is to understand the ways and means through which media technology contributes to reducing loneliness and social isolation among vulnerable groups. The project will seek to understand what difference the technologies provided by WaveLength have made in different domains of an individual’s life – including emotional, social and economic – contributing to their overall sense of wellbeing and ‘connectedness’.

Related links

Publications and presentations from the project are available from the York Research Database

Project protocol

This research sits within our Illness and impairment research theme. Read about our research themes.

For more information contact Annie Irvine.

SPRU research team

Project summary

WaveLength is a charitable organisation which provides televisions, radios and tablet computers to vulnerable and isolated people living in poverty, with the aim of reducing loneliness and social isolation. WaveLength has commissioned exploratory qualitative research to explore the impact of its work.

The overarching aim of the project will be to understand the ways and means through which media technology contributes to reducing loneliness and social isolation among vulnerable groups. The research will seek to understand what difference the technologies provided by WaveLength have made in different domains of an individual’s life – including emotional, social and economic – contributing to their overall sense of wellbeing and ‘connectedness’.

Qualitative interviews and focus groups will be conducted with organisations and individuals who have received equipment from WaveLength. Core research questions will include:

  • How are people using the technology provided by WaveLength?
  • What forms of media are they consuming via this technology?
  • How is the technology contributing to increasing social interaction and building relationships? 
  • How is the technology contributing to subjective improvements in health, happiness and well-being
  • How do people feel their lives are being enhanced in terms of connection and engagement with others?
  • What practical or economic impacts are derived from the technology?
  • How might WaveLength's offer be improved through expansion into other types of equipment or services?

A brief literature review will also be conducted as background to the empirical research.

Policy and Practice Aims
The research findings will be used by WaveLength to engage in discussions with government bodies, broadcasting organisations and potential funders about the impact and value of their work, and to influence policy around developments in broadcast media, particularly digital and online services.

It is hoped that this initial piece of research will be built upon with a larger scale multi-method evaluation of WaveLength’s activities and their impact.

Additional information

Protocol

link to protocol

Duration

May 2015 - August 2015

Related links

Publications and presentations from the project are available from the York Research Database

Project protocol

This research sits within our Illness and impairment research theme. Read about our research themes.

For more information contact Annie Irvine.