Social and Behavioral Sciences
Areas of Focus
Our building-focused studies enable clients and colleagues to better understand the experiences, behaviors and needs of the people who inhabit spaces and places, empowering human-centered planning and design that has positive impacts.
We help our partners conduct equitable and accountable research that authentically captures and represents participants’ voices. We aim to provide a holistic, complete perspective based on representative inputs from real people and we measure and predict the impacts of programs and projects.
Organizations prosper and achieve their objectives when they clearly understand themselves and the people they serve. We provide credible data and expert insights to help organizations customize programs and plans to meet their goals, including managing change.
Capabilities & Services
- Research design and methodology
- Sampling strategy and sizing
- Instrumentation (surveys, scripts, observational data)
- Protocols and regulatory review
- Primary and secondary data collection and management
- Interview, focus group and other facilitation
- Systematic literature searches
- Quantitative and advanced statistical analysis
- Data visualization
- Qualitative data coding and analysis
- Research synthesis and evidence quality assessment
- Research findings, reports and insights
- Publications and presentations
- Decision support and strategic recommendations
Our Team Leadership
Social and Behavioral Sciences Director
Expertise: Community Health, Built Projects and Human Outcomes, Social Determinants and Social Equity, Transportation and Health, Intervention Evaluation, Quantitative and Mixed-Methods Research, Systems Science and Decision Support, Project Oversight
Senior Social Scientist
Expertise: Qualitative Approaches and Analysis, Environmental Psychology, Organizational Psychology, Human Factors, Community Health and Equity, Ethnographic Research, Evidence Synthesis, Mixed-Methods Research, Facilitation
A New School’s Effects on Teaching and Learning
Leaders at Spero Academy, an HDR-designed school for children with special needs, proactively sought insights on the impact of their new school's design. HDR conducted an evaluation, targeted to teachers and allied health staff, to understand their perception, experience and outcomes regarding the effects of the new school on their students. Through a pre- and post-comparative analysis of the old and new facilities, the findings indicated minimal disruption to learning post-relocation, accompanied by notable positive improvements.
Making a New Science Laboratory Building Perform for Researchers
To inform space planning and design, the project team sought input from current Mayo Clinic researchers and staff designated to relocate to the new Kellen Research Building. The survey-based study used a combination of validated and well-tested measures related to respondents’ daily work activities and locations, laboratory workspace requirements, and need for dry work areas and specialized equipment. Informed by insights from the data, the facility embraces new laboratory design paradigms in support of rapidly evolving translational research approaches.
Leveraging Connections Between Transportation & Community Health
MetroPlan Orlando integrates health into regional transportation planning, engaging key stakeholders and using HDR’s PATHS Framework. The process links transportation interventions to community health determinants. The Health Strategic Plan, adopted unanimously in March 2022, guides the region through population health challenges. It won the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council’s Diamond Award for Innovation in 2023.
Planning Community Services for an Evolving City Population
The City of Richmond in British Columbia, Canada, engaged HDR for a comprehensive needs assessment for community services. Given significant changes in the city's landscape and demographics since 2015, the mixed-methods study involved communitywide input. A demographically and geographically representative survey sample and targeted focus groups ensured diverse perspectives. The assessment's insights are guiding the city's future service priorities.