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  • Success Story
  • Griffith University, AUS

How Australia Engaged Communities with Disability in a Groundbreaking Study


Researchers at Griffith University turned to EngagementHQ by Granicus to create an engagement hub for people with disability to engage with and drive research priorities. Specifically, EngagementHQ was used to improve the accessibility and inclusion of people with disability to increase the depth and breadth of data for the latest version of the “Voice of Queenslanders with Disability” report.

“Too often, people get scared to share their stories with a university or government agency, but the platform helped put them at ease. People shared their stories vulnerably with us in ways that will benefit all Queenslanders.”
Dr. Kelsey Chapman, Research Fellow, Griffith University


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Going to the next level

Griffith University started an engagement hub for people with disability called The Dignity Project using a patchwork of freely available solutions. This structure helped the program get off the ground, but it was no longer sustainable after two years. For example, many platforms required administrators to heavily moderate the user community, from approving comments to granting initial access.

“We needed to move past the manual processes that these platforms required to grow,” said Dr. Kelsey Chapman, a research fellow at Griffith University.

Griffith University turned to EngagementHQ from Granicus to host the study’s user groups in a streamlined fashion. This freed researchers to focus on collecting data, working with stakeholders, and offering recommendations instead of manually monitoring online activity.

“We went from 100 members to more than 600 in just a few months,” Chapman said. “EngagementHQ allowed us to have that growth. It had a simple use and straightforward engagement tools that allowed us to answer all of the pain points we faced before.”


More engagement = more data

With increased capability and accessibility, Griffith University then partnered with the Queensland Government on the statewide “Voice of Queenslanders with Disability Survey”.

Queensland is the third-largest and second-most populous Australian state, with nearly 6 million residents, including nearly 1 million with disability.

To make more informed policy decisions driven by evidence, the Queensland government wanted to collect holistic data about the experiences, successes, and challenges people with disability encountered when interacting with mainstream systems and services. In 2023, the Queenslanders with Disability network and the Queensland government partnered with Griffith University to evaluate and measure experiences and outcomes of the Queensland Disability Plan. This required data — and lots of it — from diverse people living throughout the state.

“The study was started to better understand what life is like for people with disability living in Queensland,” said Chapman, who led the project.


Going back to school

The increase in users brought an improvement in data. EngagementHQ also opened doors for new ways of interacting with survey participants.

In a first for the platform, the Dignity Project offered an educational course. More than 100 people with disability have taken the course, which requires them to complete quizzes on research essentials. Those who pass receive a micro-credential and digital badge.

EngagementHQ allowed many processes to get completed in a central location and for respondents to see results later, as well. For a public-facing study, it was hard to ask for anything more.

“The breadth and depth of the data we collected has been seen as a huge achievement for our team,” Chapman said. “Too often, people get scared to share their stories with a university or government agency, but the portal helped put them at ease.”