Social Lives Survey

Social lives survey - logo

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is ARCSHS?

ARCSHS is the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society. It is one of a number of specialised centres and institutes within the Faculty of Health Sciences at La Trobe University in Melbourne, and was first established in February 1993. The aims of ARCSHS are to:

  • undertake research into social, psychological and cultural aspects of human sexuality and sexual health
  • provide research leadership at state, national and international levels
  • provide knowledge, skills and resources to assist other organisations in health promotion, service delivery and the formulation of public policy.

ARCSHS is the sponsor and host of The Social Lives Survey.

Why complete the survey?

Our participation in groups and communities is a central part of our well-being. The Social Lives Survey will help us to develop and refine ways of measuring and understanding our participation in groups, and will ultimately help in understanding how to build healthy communities.

How will my survey information be used?

Data from The Social Lives Survey will assist in the development of measuring and understanding our participation in groups and how this participation relates to our health and well-being. Your input therefore has the potential to influence how governments and community organisations develop ways of building healthy communities and promoting people’s well-being.

Some of this research may be reported in journal articles or other publications or presentations, but only in aggregate form; your answers will never be singled out in any way.

All data from this survey will be kept by La Trobe University for a minimum of 7 years, after which it may be destroyed in a secure way.

What does the survey cover?

The Social Lives Survey first asks some general background questions about you, such as your age and education. It then follows with questions about the groups you belong to, such as friendship groups, formal groups, or communities. The final section covers health and well-being, such as how you feel about your life today and what you find meaningful in life.

Will my identity be known to anyone if I participate?

No. You will remain anonymous. No identifying information will be collected. The survey has been set up at a secure website address provided by our net space provider. No staff at either the provider site or at ARCSHS will have access to your IP address.

At the start of the survey, we ask for your month/year of birth and your initials. It will not be possible to identify you based on this information, and you do not have to provide this information. However, we intend on running the survey again within the next few weeks to re-test some of the questions. This is an important step toward ensuring the quality of the data and it would be very helpful if you could complete it a second time. If you wish to do so, providing your month/year of birth and Initials will help us to tell which surveys belong to the same person while at the same time ensuring you remain anonymous.

Confidentiality of the results will also be maintained at all times. Only staff working on the Social Lives project at ARCSHS will have password access to the data.

How long will it take to complete the survey?

The survey will take around 20 minutes to complete and will involve several click-to-answer questions for you to answer. The exact number of questions varies according to what you have to tell us. Each question can be answered simply by clicking on the appropriate button with your computer mouse. You will need to set aside time to fill out the whole survey in one sitting. You will not be able to return to a partially completed survey at a later time, so we ask you to select a time of day where you can go through the survey without distraction. Your progress through the survey will be indicated via a visual indicator located at the bottom of every page.

How do I exit if I decide to end the session but haven’t reached the end of the survey?

Should you wish to end the survey before completion, simply close your browser window. Partially completed surveys will not be used in this research, so unless you completed the survey by clicking "Submit Answers", your responses will not have been recorded.

Will I have access to the information I give about myself?

No. Because we do not have access to the identity of any of our participants, we will be unable to provide any individual with information. However, publications or presentations that describe the overall findings of the Social Lives survey will be available once they have been completed.

How can I obtain information about the survey results once they are completed?

The availability of any publications or presentations that result from this research will be advertised on the ARCSHS website in the future at So stay tuned.

Will there be a follow up survey?

We intend to conduct this survey again within the next few weeks. By participating a second time, you will help us re-test some of the results and ensure the quality of the data. Of course, you do not have to participate in a follow up survey, but if you would like to be notified when the follow up survey becomes available, you have the option of providing your email address at the end of this survey.

How do I enter the draw to win an iPad mini?

Anyone who participates in this study can choose to enter the draw to win an iPad mini valued at $369.00. Entering is easy. At the end of the survey, you will be asked whether you wish to enter the draw. If you choose to do so, you will be asked to provide your email address so that we may contact you should you win.

What can I do if the survey raises any concerns?

If you have any questions about this survey, you can contact Dr Anthony Lyons or Dr Gillian Fletcher at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), La Trobe University:

Dr Anthony Lyons, email:, phone: 03 9479 8719

Dr Gillian Fletcher, email:, phone: 03 9479 8758

If you have any complaints or queries that the investigators were not able to answer to your satisfaction, you may contact the Secretary, Faculty Human Ethics Committee, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Victoria, 3086 (ph: 03 9479 3583, e-mail: Please quote FHEC application reference number: FHEC 13/205.

If completing this survey brings up experiences that have been distressing or leads to further questions about the topics covered, you can also try discussing your concerns by contacting any of the following organisations:

Lifeline ( – 13 11 14

Beyondblue ( – 1300 224 636

Mensline (for men with relationship or family concerns; – 1300 789 978

Headspace (for those aged 18-25 years; – 1800 650 890

Health Direct Australia (to speak to a nurse or GP for free) – 1800 022 222