The first phase involved a detailed literature review to decide upon an appropriate theoretical approach to the research task, including a review of previous social and community impact studies and the way in which they were applied. Significant consultation and feedback occurred around this phase of the study. The second phase, having satisfied the terms of reference (in terms of an agreed approach and the preferences of the Research Panel) was to design a methodology to select regions within the two States and to provide a justification for the selection of those regions. The third phase is described as "people and their communities" to indicate the data collection, surveys, interviews with local councils, service providers, business interests and consultations with key stakeholders. Data collections were wide ranging including gambling statistics, population and demography, economic and social profiles of the regions and administrative data compiled on the regions by other agencies. Both quantitative and qualitative information was collected. This stage included a number of surveys of the general population, gambling counselling service providers, financial counsellors, local GPs and others. Because of some difficulties encountered in gathering systematic and reliable data items at the regional level, particularly those that were comparable across the respective communities, the researchers expanded the number of surveys and interviews originally planned to be conducted. A key component was to establish the different gambling environments and the assessment of the impact of the different gambling environments.