About Sarah Wylie

I graduated from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand in 1993, with a Master of Arts (first class honours) in Psychology, and an undergraduate arts degree in Psychology and Education.

I began my research career as a Human Factors Scientist in the Land Transport Safety Authority, moving soon after to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Crime Prevention Unit as their sole Research Analyst. The unit developed an extensive network of Safer Community Councils across local government and Iwi-based organisations, and had a strong focus on community partnership and a preventive, early intervention and restorative approach to reducing offending and victimisation. It also had a strong focus on innovative, research-informed practice and evaluation alongside community engagement, and this really shaped my research career. Since university, I have always been passionate about undertaking research in real world settings that can be readily and directly applied to create change at community level.

With the arrival of parenthood, my family relocated from Wellington to my home town of Christchurch. From 1997 onwards, I’ve worked as an independent evaluator and researcher, on a diverse array of projects, either on my own, under sub-contract or in partnership with other research providers, or with other researchers I sub-contract. Over many years, I’ve honed my qualitative research skills, engaging with a broad range of people, from judges to prisoners, children and young people to older adults, in urban and rural settings, and with a strong focus on vulnerable populations, and from diverse cultural backgrounds including culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

I am also highly experienced in gathering quantitative data from a variety of sources:

  • Stats NZ Datasets

  • Data gathered by a wide array of Government Departments (navigating the Official Information Act when needed)

  • Service provider data

and applying quantitative data to answer real-world questions.

I’m a firm believer in the value of triangulation of data – not relying on one approach to research to tell a story, but rather, seeking multiple perspectives to answer research questions through mixed methods approaches. I am experienced in Theory of Change and Programme Logic Modelling, survey design and execution, and interviews and focus groups, including those exploring sensitive topics.

I have a team of colleagues I regularly sub-contract or partner with to complement my own skillset, including data visualisation and statistical analysis of quantitative data, and Kaupapa Māori research. I am committed to research and evaluation that upholds the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and to ethical research and evaluation practice.

At a personal level, I am married to a primary school Principal and have two adult sons. I am a keen road and gravel cyclist and bikepacker, and an active member of the cycling  community, administering the Future Champions Support Network which strives to remove barriers to participation in cycling for young people, and the not-so-young.

family of four seated on long brown grass smiling

Sarah Wylie with her family

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