How we work

Case studies
An image of OnePlusOne's four core disciplines that underpin our work.

It is never too late to learn the skills that can help you have happy and healthy relationships.  

At OnePlusOne, we create evidence-based resources to help people learn relationship skills that will serve them throughout their lives. Our research and evaluation contributes to the wider evidence base on how relationships work and their impact on individuals, families, and society.  

To develop these innovative resources we combine evidence from a range of disciplines. Our inclusive co-design process involves the very people that the resources are designed to support, including parents and practitioners from communities all over the country.  

Below are some of the core disciplines that underpin our work.

Relationship science

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Relationship science is a field that aims to understand the initiation, development, maintenance, and breakdown of interpersonal relationships. Using methods from disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and economics, relationship science aims to answer four core questions:

  1. What is a relationship?
  2. How do relationships operate?
  3. What do people bring to their relationships
  4. How does context affect relationships?

The first step in understanding any relationship issue is to review what has already been studied by experts in relationship science. By doing this, we can ensure that all of our innovation projects are based on knowledge of what works – creating a link between theory and practice.

Behaviour change theory

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Behaviour change theories aim to identify and understand the root causes of behaviour. When we understand why people do things, it becomes possible to develop effective interventions that enable people to change their behaviour.

Behaviour change theories include social learning theory (Bandura, 1977), theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1991), and operant learning theory (Skinner, 1963). All of these theories propose that certain ‘behavioural determinants’ can predict the ways people will respond to their environment.

For example, social learning theory proposes that people learn new behaviours by observing and imitating others. This starts with a person’s belief in their ability to perform the behaviour.

Behaviour modelling training

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Behaviour Modelling Training (BMT) is one theory-based behaviour change method that we use in our resources.

This method applies the principles of Bandura’s social learning theory (1977) to a learning environment – when someone believes that they are capable of changing a certain behaviour, they are more likely to try it, and more likely to maintain it.

BMT works by describing a set of behaviours or skills to be learned. It then provides a visual demonstration of these behaviours to help people develop new knowledge and skills, and gives them an opportunity to practice the new behaviours. offering encouragement through feedback and social reinforcement.

BMT has been shown to support improvements in people’s attitudes, in their intention to change their behaviour, and in their belief that behaviour change is possible.

Relational capability

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OnePlusOne has been developing the relational capability framework throughout its history. This draws on the capability approach of Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, which has been expanded on by others, including the philosopher and ethicist Martha Nussbaum. The capability approach suggests that societies and governments should promote the capabilities of individuals to live a life they value. According to Nussbaum, engaging in a relationship is one such capability.

Relational capability begins in infancy and early childhood. This is when we develop social and cognitive capacities, such as emotional understanding, perspective-taking, and emotional regulation. These are the basis of internal relational capability.

With these foundations in place, children are able to form their first relationships, learning to engage with those closest to them, and later applying these capabilities to the relationships they form in education, at work, and in their ever-expanding social world. Capability begets capability.

At OnePlusOne, we have focused on an individual’s capacity to initiate and maintain relationships, and the opportunity to use that capacity.

We envisage a world where everyone has the resources to develop their relational capability. Whatever relationships you have, we want you to be able to do them well.