Older guides and literature

Behaviour change interventions – guides to approaches and theories

Habits, Routines and Sustainable Lifestyles
This 2011 report by Andrew Darnton and colleagues  provides a  summary of findings from a literature review on the role of habit in relation to sustainable behaviours. It sets out the theory on habit from two different perspectives, identifies effective techniques for bringing about habit change, and draws out implications for policy makers and practitioners.

How the science of behavior change can help with sustainability
This article is still a good place to start if this is a new topic to you. In this 2011 Guardian article Les Robinson shares his tips on how the science of behavior change can help to make sustainability initiatives more effective. He addresses some of the key questions such as “how to move beyond the converted?, and what to do when people just don’t appear interested. The role of key theories of change are explained.

Beyond the ABC: climate change policy and theories of social change
In this short and deliberately provocative 2010 paper Elizabeth Shove reflects on what seems to be a yawning gulf between the potential contribution of the social sciences and the typically restricted models and concepts of social change embedded in contemporary environmental policy in the UK, and in other countries too. As well as making a strong case for going beyond what she refers to as the dominant paradigm of ABC (attitude, behaviour, and choice), she discusses the attractions of this model, the blind spots it creates, and the forms of governance it sustains. This paper provides some insight into why so much relevant social theory remains so marginalised, and helps identify opportunities for making better use of existing intellectual resources. A good summary of the paper can be found here  – Going beyond the ABC of climate change policy.

Understanding and influencing behaviours: a review of social research, economics and policy making in Defra
This 2010 discussion paper draws on experience within Defra using a range of case studies to highlight how policy development is taking practical steps to deliver ‘change’. The premise for this paper is that the heart of the issue is not about “behaviour change” but rather how translating a better understanding of behaviours (gained via economic and social research) directly into policy can influence change through the provision of evidence based, highly effective instruments. Whilst not an exhaustive review, the paper demonstrates how research and analysis is helping to understand behaviour, how this shapes our thinking about policy development and informs the choice of interventions adopted.

Supporting Collective Action in Pest Management – Aims and Frameworks
This 2009 report by Will Allen and Chrys Horn introduces concepts that articulate and frame the social directions and processes required to support collective action in many natural resource management issues. It looks at the capacities and skills required. It also offers a checklist for evaluating collaborative action as a final appendix.

The Psychology of Sustainable Behavior
This 2009 handbook by Christie Manning introduces research-based tips from psychology to underpin efforts to empower sustainability in a range of settings. This document represents many years of psychological studies, and summarizes the studies and findings most relevant to sustainability and sustainable behavior change. The handbook begins with an overview of the psychology of sustainable behavior. The following section then describes how the tips from psychology fit into sustainability campaigns and explains how individual sustainability contributes to broader social and policy change.

Behaviour change intervention tools
This 2009 report by Ashlea Bartram provides a review of empirical studies on the use of a range of tools in voluntary behaviour change interventions in order to draw conclusion about the effectiveness of these tools. These tools were  classified as prompts, norm appeals, commitment, feedback or incentives.

Reference Report: An overview of behaviour change models and their uses
This 2008 report by Andrew Darnton has been designed to accompany the Practical Guide to Behaviour Change models (see next entry). It provides a descriptive account of over 60 social-psychological models and theories of behaviour and discusses some issues to consider when using models. It also provides additional resources in the Appendices to enable readers to access the vast amount of literature in this area and see where models have been used to address particular behaviours previously. This review makes the distinction between models of behaviour and theories of change. Also see: A framework for pro-environmental behaviours. This 2008 report sets out a framework for Defra’s work on pro-environmental behaviour. It pulls together evidence on public understanding, attitudes and behaviours; identifies behaviour goals; and draws conclusions on the potential for change across a range of behaviour groups.

States of Reason: Freedom, responsibility and the governing of behaviour change
This report by Miranda Lewis asks what the rationale is for state interventions in public behaviour and what principles should guide public policy when the state seeks to act. The report develops a framework setting out when and how government intervention in public behaviour is justified. It brings together insights from different policy areas but focuses in particular on three examples: anti-social behaviour, climate change, and personal finance.

Tools of Change: Proven Methods for Promoting Health, Safety and Environmental Citizenship
This Canadian website, founded on the principles of community-based social marketing, offers specific tools, case studies, and a planning guide for helping people take actions and adopt habits that promote health and/or are more environmentally-friendly. This Web site will help you include in your programs the best practices of many other programs – practices that have already been successful in changing people’s behaviour.