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@[toc](Frequently Asked Questions) ## What is the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study? The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS) is a 20-year longitudinal national study of social attitudes, personality and health outcomes of more than 70,000 New Zealanders. The study is broad-ranging and includes researchers from a number of New Zealand universities, including the University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Canterbury, the University of Otago, and Waikato University. The NZAVS extends our understanding of how New Zealanders' life circumstances, attitudes, values, and beliefs change over time. The study is university-based, not-for-profit and independent of political or corporate funding. The NZAVS is curated by Professor Chris Sibley. ## How do you protect my contact details and other personal information? We take our participants’ confidentiality very seriously. All personal details are encrypted and stored separately from questionnaire data. Only Prof. Chris Sibley and trusted research assistants working on the NZAVS in secure conditions have access to participants' contact details. Participants’ contact details are used solely for the purposes of contacting them to continue their participation in the NZAVS each year and to provide them with information and feedback about research findings from the NZAVS. ## What are the ethics approval details for the NZAVS? The NZAVS is reviewed every three years by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee. Our most recent ethics approval statement is as follows: The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study was approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 26/05/2021 for six years, Reference Number UAHPEC22576. Our previous ethics approval statement for the 2015-2021 period is: The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study was approved by The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 03-June-2015 until 03-June-2018, and renewed on 05-September-2017 until 03-June-2021. Reference Number: 014889. Our previous ethics approval statement for the 2009-2015 period is: The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study was approved by The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 09-September-2009 until 09-September-2012, and renewed on 17-February-2012 until 09-September-2015. Reference Number: 6171. For any queries regarding ethical concerns you may contact the Chair, University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee, Ethics and Integrity Team, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142. Telephone 09 373-7599 ext. 83711. Email: ## I have just received an NZAVS questionnaire for the first time. How was I selected? If you have just received a questionnaire from us for the first time, then you have been randomly selected and invited to participate in the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study. Your name and contact address were randomly selected from the electoral roll. The electoral roll is available for scientific research. We hope that you will consider joining the study by completing and posting the questionnaire back to us. You can also complete the questionnaire online. The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study is a world-leading longitudinal study of social attitudes and values. By participating you will contribute to research investigating how the attitudes, values, personality and health of New Zealanders are changing over time. ## Can my partner join the study? The NZAVS was designed to randomly sample adults from all across New Zealand. Randomly sampling people means we can provide reliable estimates of the overall population. This remains the key focus of the NZAVS. Over the years, a number of participants have also let us know that their partner is interested in joining the NZAVS, and to ask if their partner could also be sent a copy of the questionnaire. Partners who join the NZAVS are not part of the original random sample, and because they are choosing proactively to join the study, they might differ in important ways from the more general random sample of participants. However, including partners in the NZAVS allows us to answer additional and important questions about how people affect one another in relationships. For example, people’s own attitudes and values might predict their own wellbeing, and their attitudes and values might affect their partner’s wellbeing. To examine how partners’ influence each other like this, researchers need data from both people in a relationship, not just individuals. This new exciting part of the NZAVS will use the data we have from both people in relationships to understand the ways that people’s attitudes, values and wellbeing develop within, and are affected by, their closest relationship partners. If your partner wants to join the NZAVS then they are most welcome to do so, and can join the study simply by completing the questionnaire online and entering their contact details. ## I've moved overseas. Are my responses still useful? Your responses are still very important to us. One of the really interesting research questions that we are looking at in the NZAVS relates to how people who have moved overseas are doing, relative to those who have stayed in New Zealand. So yes, it would be great if you could continue to complete the questionnaire online. ## You already have lots of people in the study. Why is it important for me to take part? The aim of a national longitudinal sample like the NZAVS is to be able to provide responses that represent all people living in New Zealand. To be able to represent everyone reliably, we need as diverse and broad a range of respondents as possible. Every single person in the study is incredibly important to us, as every single response can help to increase the reliability and accuracy of our conclusions. ## Why is it important that I complete the NZAVS questionnaire each year? The NZAVS is a longitudinal study that aims to track how the personality, attitudes and values of New Zealanders may be changing over time. This is important because we currently know very little about how peoples’ opinions, values and levels of satisfaction with their lives may change gradually over time, and perhaps also change rapidly in response to current events in society. Because the annual survey uses repeat respondents, it can track subtle changes in attitudes and values over time, and is becoming an important tool for researchers. To be able to look at change, we need to follow-up on people over time, and be able to compare your responses across years. ## How do you phrase items for use in the NZAVS? You probably noticed that there were a number of items that seemed somewhat similar spread throughout the questionnaire. We included multiple items that were somewhat similar because one of our aims is to try and get multiple measures of attitudes toward a number of different aspects of New Zealand society. The idea behind this is that to measure something accurately you need multiple measures (or indicators) of the underlying attitude. Ideally the items should not be too obviously related to the same thing, but they do all need to relate to the same concept. We are still tinkering with the items from year to year, and your responses will help us a lot to improve this. You probably also noticed that a lot of the items seemed to be worded one way, whereas other items were worded in the opposite direction. In other words if you strongly agreed with one item expressing an attitude toward a particular topic, then you probably found that you strongly disagreed with others. For example, someone who strongly identified with their ethnic group would probably tend to agree with items such as “Being a member of my ethnic group is an important part of who I am” but disagree with items such as “Being a member of my ethnic group has very little to do with how I see myself.” There are a number of important reasons for including items worded in both directions. One reason is that it allows us to spot people who simply agreed with all the items in the questionnaire, regardless of how they were worded. Another more important reason is that some people tend to display an ‘agreement bias.’ This means that people will, more often than not, be likely to slightly agree with most statements of opinion if they are positively worded. This is important because it can bias the results. By including items worded in both directions, we hope to be able to control for any possible agreement bias in the data and thus more accurately measure attitudes. ## Does the NZAVS include culturally-relevant questions for specific groups within New Zealand? The NZAVS includes researchers from a diverse range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The NZAVS also employs measures of psychological identification developed specifically by members of our research team for use with Māori and Pacific peoples. These additional scales are in the public domain and are also part of a series of broader cross-disciplinary and collaborative research projects aimed at improving outcomes for Māori and Pacific peoples. ## Why it is important for the NZAVS to measure feelings toward different groups? The NZAVS contains items asking participants to rate their emotions (feelings of ‘warmth’ and feelings of ‘anger’) toward a number of different social groups. These include specific ethnic groups, such as ‘NZ Europeans’, ‘Chinese’ and ‘Māori’. The list also includes more general or broader categories (e.g., ‘Asians in general’ and ‘Immigrants in general'). Full and complete copies of all NZAVS questionnaires are available here. This general type of scale is widely used in numerous research projects across the globe and has been a standard measure in many political science surveys conducted since—and perhaps even earlier than—1964. This general type of scale has been included in numerous other surveys in many nations, including multiple studies in New Zealand. The NZAVS uses these ‘feeling thermometer scales’ to gauge the level of tolerance and positive emotions that people in New Zealand express toward different ethnic and social groups. As such, it is an important indicator of intergroup harmony within our nation. This is important for the NZAVS because we want to know how such attitudes and feelings might change over time. By looking for change in these attitudes over time, we can help to determine how well New Zealand as a whole is doing in terms of providing an inclusive and tolerant society that supports diversity and respect for all peoples. Our research group has also written open letter discussing this issue in more detail, you can read it [here][1]. Tracking change in these attitudes over time is also important because the NZAVS aims to identify possible ‘triggers’ that might temporarily increase or decrease tolerance in society. One of our key aims here at the NZAVS is to identify what these ‘triggers’ might be in terms of maintaining and increasing tolerance in our society over time. ## Why does the NZAVS questionnaire include an item asking about satisfaction with one's sex life? Sex and sexual satisfaction are often seen as embarrassing topics, only to be discussed in hushed tones. For this very reason, they are also often overlooked in scientific research. This is a big oversight, however. First of all, sex is a core part of the human experience; we would not be here without it. Second, there is a growing body of research showing that sexual satisfaction is strongly associated with the strength and health of our intimate relationships. In fact, the World Health Organisation has defined sexual health as a state of well-being. Some people may be sexually satisfied with very little or no sex, while others desire a more active or frequent sex life; what form sex takes (or lack thereof) doesn’t really seem to matter, rather the extent to which we feel satisfied with our sex life does. Because of the clear research linking sexual satisfaction to health and wellbeing we are now including sexual satisfaction as part of the NZAVS questionnaire. ## Why do we measure trust in the government, police and other authorities? One research focus of the NZAVS is whether trust in basic institutions such as government, health care, police, and education is changing over time. If trust is changing, we also want to understand why, and with what effects, as well as where trust is stable, what factors promote this stability, and whether stability is linked to well-being. This is important because trust in basic institutions has been associated with the levels of happiness and prosperity that people experience. Yet relatively little is known about the mechanisms. To understand why trust is linked to wellbeing requires longitudinal studies, such as the NZAVS. It’s also important to note that our interest in these questions is entirely independent of any government body or agency. Our funding is independent of any government body or agency. Not only do we take extraordinary safeguards to ensure participant confidentiality, we are committed to remaining independent from government oversight or management. As well as helping to answer this fundamental research question about whether New Zealand is a healthy and happy place to live, we can thus provide independent scientific data on citizens’ trust and satisfaction that is impartial and independent of any particular government body and/or authority. ## Is the NZAVS affiliated or funded by any political organizations or corporate or government bodies? No, it is not. The NZAVS is a university-based, scientific not-for-profit study. The NZAVS is not affiliated or funded by any political organization or government body. Our study is independent of government and corporate interests. Results and publication of all NZAVS data are also independent of any specific funding agency, corporate or government body. Research reports using anonymous data from the study may be requested for the purposes of not-for-profit social and health research in New Zealand. (You can read our funding statement under the heading in this FAQ: "How is the NZAVS funded?".) ## Why did I see an advertisement for the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study online (e.g., on Facebook)? If you saw an advertisement for the study online (for example, on Facebook, Twitter, or a news website) then this was by chance. The advertisement was randomly shown to a large number of people living in New Zealand and aged 18 years and older. Those were the only factors (living in New Zealand and over 18 years old) used to randomly select people to be shown the advertisement on Facebook. To be clear, the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study does not use any more specific form of targeted Facebook advertising, and our goal with the advertisement was to try and reach people who had participated in the study in the past, and with whom we had lost contact. ## How is the NZAVS funded? The NZAVS is funded from various not-for-profit research granting agencies, research trusts, and internal University funding from year-to-year. Our funders have no role in NZAVS study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of scientific reports or manuscripts for publication using NZAVS data. The NZAVS has received funding from the following sources (this is a full and complete listing): Year | Grant Details | Amount ---- | ------------- | ------- 2009 | University of Auckland Faculty Research Development Grant awarded to Chris Sibley | $NZ 30,000 2010 | University of Auckland Early Career Research Excellence Award to Chris Sibley | $NZ 25,000 2011 | Faculty Research Development Grant awarded to Danny Osborne | $NZ 30,000 2013 | Templeton World Charity Foundation awarded to Chris Sibley, Joseph Bulbulia and Geoff Troughton (#0077) | $NZ 601,235 2013 | Strategic Fund Grant, University of Queensland awarded to Fiona Kate Barlow | $AU 10,000 2013 | Te Whare Kura New Knowledge Acquisition Grant awarded to Carla Houkamau and Chris Sibley | $NZ 10,000 2013 | Marsden Grant, Royal Society of New Zealand, awarded to Joseph Bulbulia in 2013 | $NZ 769,565 2014 | University of Auckland Faculty Research Development Grant awarded to Chris Sibley | $NZ 25,000 2015 | Faculty Research Development Grant awarded to Danny Osborne | $NZ 50,000 2015 | University of Auckland Early Career Research Excellence Award to Danny Osborne | $NZ 25,000 2017 | University of Auckland Research Excellence Award to the NZAVS research group | $NZ 5000 2017 | Marsden Grant, Royal Society of New Zealand, awarded to Quentin Atkinson, Ananish Chaudhuri, Chris Sibley. This grant was for the [economic decisions project][6] not the NZAVS more broadly | $NZ 835,000 2018 | Templeton Religion Trust awarded to Chris Sibley, Joseph Bulbulia, Geoff Troughton and Don E. Davis (TRT0196) | $NZ 4,569,114 2020 | COVID-19 Project Grant from the Auckland Medical Research Foundation, awarded to Danny Osborne and Chris Sibley (AMRF 1720006) | $NZ 81,878 2021 | Extension grant from the Templeton Religion Trust awarded to Chris Sibley, Joseph Bulbulia, Geoff Troughton and Don E. Davis (TRT0196 one-year extension) | $NZ 700,184 2022 | Templeton Religion Trust awarded to Chris Sibley, Joseph Bulbulia, Geoff Troughton and Don E. Davis (TRT-2021-10418) | $US 3,300,000 | Annual | School of Psychology Performance Based Research Funds and Publication Funds awarded to Chris Sibley and Danny Osborne | $NZ 2000-3000 | ## What do you do with the data, how is it shared, and how is it used for scientific research? A copy of the anonymous data reported in each NZAVS publication is available from Associate Prof. Chris Sibley upon request from appropriately qualified researchers. Such data will be provided with the explicit understanding that it is used solely for the purposes of replicating or otherwise checking the validity of analyses reported in scientific papers analysing NZAVS data. Anonymous data from the study are also available on a case-by-case basis to appropriately qualified researchers for the purposes of developing novel collaborative scientific research. Such requests should also be directed to Associate Prof. Chris Sibley. Decisions about the provision of data for the purposes of novel collaborative research will be made in consultation with other members of the core NZAVS team. Finally, research reports using anonymous data from the study may also be requested strictly for the purposes of not-for-profit social and health research in New Zealand. ## I'm a graduate student interested in working in the NZAVS lab. Who should I contact? The NZAVS lab has an open and collaborative atmosphere. PhD candidates in our lab can be supervised by a range of researchers, depending on the particular area. Our research covers a wide range of topics in social psychology. We work as a team, and encourage our graduate students to work together on collaborative projects for publication. Our lab has a strong focus on the statistical modeling of longitudinal data. We provide all the specialist training you will need to work with longitudinal data, and hold weekly workshops throughout the year that focus on a variety of different statistical analyses and methods. Materials and data from many of the NZAVS statistics workshops are also available online. More information is available on the [postgraduate study wiki][2]. [1]: [2]:
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