The Voluntary Action Research Group brings together researchers from across the university. Founded in 1998 as the Centre for Voluntary Sector Research, VARG serves as a forum to showcase and build on the internationally significant research and evaluation conducted at Sheffield Hallam University, which is shaping debates about the past, present and future of voluntary action. We are especially interested in providing critical commentary on key policy developments affecting the voluntary sector.
The interdisciplinary team have decades of experience conducting research in diverse fields, including voluntary sector policy, volunteering, social value, small charities, and many others. This research involves a variety of research methods including policy analysis, interviews, secondary data analysis, participatory action research, discourse analysis, and more. A selection of recent publications can be found in the Research Outputs section of the website.
Researchers within the group are also at the forefront of building the wider voluntary action academic community and ensuring that community is open to charity practitioners and wider networks. Group members have leading positions within national research networks such as the Voluntary Sector Studies Network, and international associations like the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. Our research is a mainstay of leading conferences and journals around the world.
VARG members work as lecturers and researchers, doctoral supervisors, and journal editors, and are always looking to build deeper connections with the voluntary sector locally, nationally, and internationally. Please explore the website and contact group members if you would like to discuss specific research projects, potential consultancy work, or the sharing of research findings.