ANU Poll is conducted via internet by the Social Research Centre (SRC)’s ‘Life in Australia’ panel. The SRC, an ANU Enterprise-owned company, member of the Australian Market and Social Research Society (AMSRS) and the company has completed extensive survey work for academic staff at ANU and for the Australian Government.
Approximately 3000 Australians will be sampled to undertake each ANUpoll survey. Those Australians have previously agreed to be contacted by the Social Research Centre as part of the company's 'Life in Australia' panel of survey respondents.
Developed and maintained by researchers at the SRC, Life in Australia is the most methodologically rigorous online panel in Australia. It exclusively uses random probability-based sampling methods and covers both online and offline population. Results are generalisable to the adult population living in Australia and the sampling approach ensures that sampling errors and confidence intervals can be calculated. By comparison, non-probability ‘opt in’ online panels do not have these statistical properties.
Life in Australia panel members are randomly recruited via their landline or mobile phone and provide their contact details so that they can take part in surveys on a regular basis. Panel members receive a small payment for joining the panel and for each survey they complete.
The purpose of the study, including the voluntary nature of the survey and the confidentiality and privacy provisions, are provided to respondents in writing prior to commencement of the survey. Only if respondents are happy to continue do they proceed through to the survey questions.
The sample is drawn from all states and territories and uses a disproportionate stratified sampling methodology. This ensures that at least 100 interviews are undertaken in each state / territory with the remaining 200 interviews distributed across the five most populous states on a probability proportional-to-size basis.
TThe ability to convincingly assure members of the community as to the privacy and confidentiality of the information they provide is a very salient issue when undertaking general community research.
From a practical viewpoint, in order to ensure compliance with professional and legal obligations, the interviewing team emphasises the rights of the respondents to privacy in the training materials produced for the survey and also in the interviewer briefings.
From the point of view of allaying any privacy/confidentiality concerns amongst sample members, the respondent’s information is protected by:
Respondents are also assured that the telephone number by which they were recruited has been randomly generated, that they can choose not to answer one or more questions, and that the information they provide during the course of the interview will only be used for research purposes, and then only at an aggregate level.
Strict data processing security controls apply and remain in place over the period of the study. The data security procedures adopted comply with the AMSRO Privacy Principles and the Code of Professional Behaviour of AMSRS, and include:
- physical security (storage of confidential information in locked cabinets / in locked rooms)
- data transmission
- prohibition on copying sample files containing identifiable information
- clear-desk policy
- use of multi-level password protection on all electronic storage systems
- limited access to information (i.e. access limited to the project team and other agreed persons on a need-to-know basis)
- server room security
- de-identification of data
- system cleansing at the conclusion of the project.
Each survey dataset, without any individually identifying factors, is deposited in the Australian Data Archive
at ANU under their standard confidentiality and ethical protocols.