Growing Up in Australia
Newsletter No. 24, Winter 2009

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

2009 LSAC Research Conference

The second LSAC Research Conference is being held on 3-4 December 2009 in Melbourne at Rydges Hotel on Swanston Street, Parkville. The conference is a forum for discussion of findings from the study and to highlight its research potential. Those who are interested in LSAC and longitudinal studies in general will have the opportunity to share knowledge with their peers at this conference and are encouraged to attend.

Submissions for presentations are now being sought. Contributions towards the travel and accommodation costs of presenters who have a paper accepted is available. The Institute will cover the cost of an economy airfare and two nights accommodation for all Australian-based presenters (limited to one per paper). Conference registration fees will also be waived. Submissions should be forwarded by 21 August 2009.

Further details about the Conference, including submission and registration details are available on the LSAC Research Conference web pages.

Wave 3 data

The Wave 3 data file is due for release at the end of August this year. Application forms for access to the data are available on our website. A full set of user documentation, including an updated online data dictionary and user guide, weighting paper and marked up questionnaires, will be provided with the data and will also be available on our website upon data release.

We would still like to hear from any families who we were unable to contact in Wave 3. If you are one of these families please phone freecall 1800 005 508.

Wave 4

The development process for Wave 4 data collection has concluded. The first stage of data collection will commence in August 2009, with the main collection phase beginning in April 2010. Interviewer training for the first data collection stage is occurring late July and early August, with three-day workshops in Melbourne and Sydney.

Between waves survey – Wave 3.5

As reported in the Autumn 2009 newsletter, Growing Up in Australia contacted most study families with a short mail-out questionnaire during June 2009. The questionnaire asks about children's use of media and technology, their health, how children travel to and from school, of the younger cohort's transition to school experiences, and parental involvement in learning for the older cohort.

NAPLAN data linkage

As previously reported, the study intends to link to data from the new National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests. These provide information on students' academic ability in reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy. We are currently testing the linking process with state and territory education authorities for study children where parents have given consented for the release of this information.

Waves 5-8 planning

As previously reported, the study is now continuing beyond Wave 4 and arrangements for collection of data until 2018 (when the older cohort of children will be 18-19 years and the younger cohort in their mid teens) are now being made. The Consortium Advisory Group, FaHCSIA and the ABS met with Institute staff in June to discuss initial thoughts on data collection for Waves 5-8, and broad planning has commenced.  It is intended that there will be opportunity for those interested to contribute ideas for Waves 5-8 at the LSAC conference this year.

Growing Up in Australia appears in the New York Times!

Growing Up in Australia data has attracted interest in the New York Times where it was featured in the article “Working moms and cuddle time”, July 10 2009. The article highlights information from the paper prepared by Institute researcher, Jenny Baxter, and Julie Smith, from the Australian National University, on “Breastfeeding and infants' time use”, Research paper no. 43, June 2009. This paper analyses the Wave 1 time use diaries for infants aged 3-14 months and explores how much time infants spend in activities such as being held or cuddled, read or talked to, or crying and whether or not infants were still breastfeeding.

Recent conferences

A number of papers using LSAC data were presented at the Australian Human Development Association (AHDA) Conference held 6-8 July in Adelaide and the Australian Social Policy Conference (ASPC) held 8-10 July in Sydney.

Recent publications

For information on recent publications, please visit the Publications page on the Growing Up in Australia website.

Key Research Questions

At the commencement of Growing Up in Australia, seven broad research questions were established to guide the direction of the study. The seven questions incorporated 14 further specific research questions grouped under the headings of family functioning, health, non-parental child care, education and cross-discipline.

The research questions were reviewed to ensure they continue to be relevant given the increasing age of the child, developments in child psychology research and the changing policy environment. The revised research questions are detailed in the Key Research Questions report.

Life at 5

The Growing Up in Australia study is very pleased to continue to be involved with the Life at documentary series, which draws on the experience of our study.  Life at 5 will be produced by Heiress Films, and the next round of Growing Up in Australia interviews with the 11 children and their families participating in the Life at series will occur later this year.  For more information about the series, see abc.net.au/tv/life.

Joining the Mailing list

If you would like to find out when new information on the study becomes available, please join the Growing Up in Australia email alert service, growingup-refgroup.

Contact us

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

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