Growing Up in Australia
Newsletter No. 12, March 2006

Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, ISSN 1448-9147 (Online)

Wave 2 data collection

The main phase of data collection for Wave 2 will begin next month. Over 180 interviewers are currently being trained in preparation for making contact with and interviewing the 10,000 families recruited in 2004. More than 400 families were interviewed in October and November 2005, but most families will be interviewed from April to September this year.

Wave 2 data collection will include a 45-minute computer-assisted interview with the parent who knows the child best. This parent will fill in a short self-complete form while the interviewer is in the home. Self-complete questionnaires will also be left behind for both (where applicable) resident parents to fill in, along with two 24-hour time use diaries about how the study child spends their day. If the child has a parent living elsewhere, and the resident parent agrees to provide their contact details, the parent living elsewhere will be invited to take part in the study by completing a short questionnaire.

As occurred in Wave 1, interviewers will undertake some direct assessments of the older cohort of children, who are now aged 6-7 years. For the first time, these children will be interviewed about how they find school and their feelings more generally. Children in both cohorts will be weighed and their height and girth measurements will be taken. Questionnaires will also be sent to teachers (for the 6-7 year old children) and child carers (for the 2-3 year old children).

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is conducting the data collection for Wave 2 on behalf of the Institute.

Wave 3 development

Although it is still 'early days', planning for Wave 3 of the study has begun. A formal testing strategy will be decided in July 2006, once the proposed content for Wave 3 has been determined. The Institute and the Australian Government Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA) are currently working on a strategic overview of the study, which will assist with the development of future waves.

One change already made for Wave 3 is the inclusion of a direct assessment component for the infant cohort, who will be 4-5 years old in Wave 3. More information regarding the Wave 3 testing strategy and an overview of the proposed content for Wave 3 will be included in future newsletters.

Between waves data

The 'between waves' mail out (Wave 1.5) was conducted in 2005 and proved useful as a way of keeping in touch with the study children and their families. Over 70 per cent of families returned the questionnaire, and about 10 per cent of these chose to do so online. The Wave 1.5 questionnaire used in the mail out can be found on our website.

Similar to the process for the Wave 1 data, datasets supplied to users will be accompanied by a User Guide that includes a description of how the study was conducted, information on Wave 1.5 content, the data file structure, variable naming conventions, and important issues for data analysis. In August this year, data from Wave 1.5 will be available for release to researchers approved by FaCSIA.

LSAC Publications

A number of articles based on analysis of Wave 1 data by Institute researchers and Consortium Advisory Group members have been published in Family Matters (no. 72, Summer 2005), the Institute's peer reviewed journal. Articles featured in the journal include:

Three thematic papers have been commissioned by FaCSIA on: (1) Parenting and families in Australia, (2) Mothers, fathers, children and work, and (3) How well Australian infants and 4 to 5 year old children are doing. These papers are due for release by FaCSIA during 2006.

Contact us

If you want further information on the Growing Up in Australia study, please explore our website at www.aifs.gov.au/growingup or contact us.

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