Researching complex life events

We partnered with the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) to research the experience of dealing with the death of a loved one and the role government services play during this time.

‘Life events’ to improve government services

Major life events such as the death of a loved one require multiple interactions with a variety of government services. Services are usually delivered from specific departments or organisational groups, which makes cross-departmental or cross-sector integration of services difficult.

DTA engaged Paper Giant to take a holistic approach in understanding the death of a loved one in the context of people’s lives, and the broad spectrum of needs triggered by the event.

Creating research tools helped to ‘externalise’ the subject matter and conduct the research in a safe, ethical way.

Researching death

Over 10 weeks, we conducted in-depth interviews with over 40 people who had recently experienced the death of a loved one. We captured a diverse range of experiences, from people of different ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, geographic locations, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, including Aboriginal Australians. We also spoke to service providers in death-related industries including medical staff, lawyers, counsellors, and funeral directors.

We uncovered insights relevant for many departments and agencies, and make specific, evidence-based recommendations to address the expressed needs of carers, medical staff, emergency responders and people at the end of their life.


  • Created a framework for cross-departmental collaboration to be an enduring resource.

  • Identified which services people need to access, and why, and the challenges they face in doing so.

  • Identified opportunities for improvement that are widely applicable across all government.

Want to talk about life event research?


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