ESRA 2019 Programme at a Glance

Stories from the South – Longitudinal Studies from Australia and New Zealand 2

Session Organisers Ms Joanne Corey (Australian Bureau of Statistics)
Professor Susan Morton (Centre for Longitudinal Research - University of Auckland)
TimeFriday 19th July, 13:30 - 14:30
Room D25

Australia and New Zealand have a wealth of wonderful longitudinal studies. The range of topics and target populations is broad and includes:

• Babies and Children and their Parents
• Families
• Young People
• Women’s Health
• Men’s Health
• Ageing
• Indigenous Children
• Migrants
• And many many more

This session is interested in hearing from survey methodologists and practitioners from Australia and New Zealand who work in this area and would be interested in sharing their stories.

We are also keen to hear from researchers from around the world who use Australian and/or New Zealand longitudinal datasets to hear about the work they are doing.

For example, we would love to hear about:
• data collection activities and methodologies
• engagement strategies and incentives
• communication with respondents including initial approach, between waves, etc.
• data linkage including consent processes
• strategies employed to reduce panel attrition
• engaging and novel methods of relaying study results back to participants
• social media strategies
• multi-mode experiences
• re-engagement of past non-responders
• using Australian/New Zealand longitudinal data together with other longitudinal data sets

Keywords: longitudinal, engagement, survey methods

Growing Up in New Zealand - Transforming Ordinary into Extraordinary

Professor Susan Morton (University of Auckland) - Presenting Author

Growing Up in New Zealand is New Zealand’s contemporary longitudinal study of child development, tracking the development of over 6000 children in the context of their diverse families and environments from before their birth until they are young adults. The study has the capability to consider the determinants of developmental outcomes for children who identify as Maori and Pasifika in particular. The longitudinal resource the study is providing is regarded as a treasure (taonga) and has been explicitly collected to provide robust scientific evidence to multiple stakeholders to ensure that we are providing the best environment for all children growing up in New Zealand today. To date the study has collected multi-disciplinary information from the families and the children on multiple occasions from before birth and throughout early childhood, largely via face-to-face interviews with dads as well as with mums, and via linkage to routine administrative datasets. This rich information on a group of children who represent the diversity of all current New Zealand births will allow us to understand what individual, familial, social and environmental factors shape early developmental trajectories for current New Zealand pre-schoolers. The information collected across the diversity of all New Zealand families will allow us to understand “what works” to enable children to thrive while growing up in New Zealand today, rather than just focussing on what is “sad and bad”.
We will present analyses that focus on measuring exposure to persistent poverty in childhood for contemporary NZ children, the graded impact on wellbeing measurable by school entry as well as what familial and societal supports can mitigate the impact of adversity on poor early life developmental, wellbeing, cognitive and educational outcomes.

The Life Course of the Study: Growing Up in Australia

Dr Galina Daraganova (Australian Institute of Family Studies)
Dr Karena Jessup (Australian Institute of Family Studies) - Presenting Author
Mrs Jessie Dunstan (Australian Institute of Family Studies)
Mrs Jennifer Renda (Australian Institute of Family Studies)

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) provides data that enables a comprehensive understanding of children’s development within Australia’s current social, economic and cultural environment. Since 2004, two cohorts of 5,000 children and their families have been interviewed. Eight waves of data collection have been undertaken with the “Baby” and “Kinder” cohorts now aged 15-16 and 19-20, respectively.
As study children have grown into adolescents and young adults, the study has had to grow with them in order to not only capture their lives but also to reflect the fast changing environment.

This paper focuses on a number of methodological challenges that the study has faced since its inception, including changes in the primary respondents, modes of data collection, length of interview, available equipment and survey content itself. In particular, the passage of time has resulted in changes to content as respondents age, increased involvement from children as they become independent self-reporters, and changes to fieldwork process and support to respondents as sensitive content is introduced. The study has also implemented changes as technology progresses. From changes to equipment, such as blood pressure monitors, to changes in methodologies – from paper questionnaires and forms to computer-assisted personal interviews and computer-assisted self interviews, the inclusion of direct assessments, and, most recently, the introduction of computer-assisted web interviews. This paper outlines the transitions that Growing Up in Australia has confronted, the implementation of these changes and associated successes and failures.

Is Social Media a Useful Tool or an Accident Waiting to Happen? Risk, Risk Aversion and Benefits of Social Media in Longitudinal Research.

Ms Natalie Townsend (University of Newcastle) - Presenting Author
Professor Deborah Loxton (University of Newcastle)

The internet was only six years old when 42,000 participants were recruited into the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH). Yet, within five years, the ALSWH was using online resources to track participants. In the mid 2000’s myspace was used, followed closely by Facebook. In 2012-3, social media was the main driver of the campaign that recruited 17,000 women born 1989-95. Using ALSWH as a case study, this presentation will highlight the advantages and risks, real and imagined, of using social media to support longitudinal research.
The ethics and research committees who oversee and approve research methods can be inexperienced in using social media. This presents a challenge to researchers wishing to make best use of innovative techniques. A related barrier involves social media policies, which may not align with ethical requirements and may also present practical barriers, such as not allowing entities, such as research studies, to hold account names. Other challenges include controlling the content of social media posts, determining the tone of the study’s social media presence and keeping abreast of the rapidly changing privacy policies of social media corporations.
Although there are risks to using social media, there are also clear advantages. Our 2012 research demonstrated that engaging young women through social media was necessary for recruitment and retention. In addition, social media profiles are cost-free and only require the cost of staff hours to post and maintain the pages. Further, paid advertising through social media allows for tailoring to the target population. For example, Facebook advertising allows for targeted advertising by age, location, sex, and interests. This presentation will cover the methods used by ALSWH to assess and meet the challenges, mitigate the risks, and make best use of social media in research, including a toolkit to help researchers negotiate the use of social media.