Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Updated April 2013
What is happening with the Beyond Bushfires project?
The first round of surveys was completed in January 2013 and we are currently sorting and analysing the data. The next stage of the study will consist of walking tours and interviews with a small number of people. We will begin these in April 2013 and this should allow us to have a greater depth of understanding of community-based experiences.
How will results be distributed?
We will present initial findings for discussion with local community members in the middle of 2013. These will consist of us re-visiting communities to present what we have found and obtain local input to assist in the interpretation of the findings. If you would like to be kept updated of when and where we are visiting – you can join our mailing list by contacting: Elyse at email@example.com
When will results be available?
We are aiming to commence community visits in the middle of this year (2013). Conference presentations will also commence this year and papers will start to be written. Once we have visited all communities, we will continue to report to our other partners (see list below) and disseminate the results through conference presentations, reports and journals (publications) into the future.
Am I too late to participate?
At this stage it is no longer possible to complete a survey. The next stage of our study involves walking tours and interviews which will be starting soon, however only a small number of people will participate in these. Feel free to contact us for more information if you are interested and we are happy to discuss this with you further. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What communities were involved in the first round of surveys?
Around 1,000 people from the Victorian communities listed below participated in the first round of surveys (current residents and those of 2009):
Some of the communities were not directly impacted by the fires. Why are they included?We have included communities that had a range of different bushfire experiences. These include less impacted communities, which will allow us to look at the differences between bushfire-affected communities and Victorian rural communities more generally.
Who are the partners supporting the research?
This research is being completed in partnership with:
- Australian Red Cross
- Flinders University
- University of New South Wales
- Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health
- Victorian Department of Health
- Australian Rotary Health
- Central West Gippsland Primary Care Partnership
- Bendigo Loddon Primary Care Partnership
- North East Primary Care Partnership
- Outer East Health and Community Support Alliance
- Lower Hume Primary Care Partnership
- Central Hume Primary Care Partnership
- Community Contacts from our selected areas
Why have you selected these communities and not others that were also greatly impacted by the fires?
The communities we have chosen were selected to represent a range of different characteristics such as community size, distance from Melbourne, level of fire impact and varying demographics. Due to limited resources, we are not able to conduct the research in all the communities that experienced that awful time. Additionally, an important focus of our study is the link between social connectedness and recovery, therefore part of our survey concerns social networks and looking at which organisations and people in a community provide others with emotional support and who or what hinders support. For analyses of social network data to produce valid results we need to contain the sample within fairly tight geographical boundaries, rather than spread the research broadly across the entire affected Victorian population. Even though not all affected communities are participating directly in the research, the findings will be relevant, and we hope useful, for all communities who are still in the process of recovery from the fires or in fire risk areas.
For those who are not part of the selected communities there is still an opportunity to be on the study mailing list to receive regular updates on the study (email us), contribute to Facebook discussions and send in photos and images for our website.
What if participating in the study raises issues that are distressing for me?
It is possible that people participating in the study may relive painful and distressing memories. We have been advised by experts in disaster recovery and bushfire recovery management that participation in the study is likely to be beneficial as talking about experiences is an important part of the recovery process. We have also put procedures in place to offer counselling and support to participants who require this (click here for link to these). Additionally, study participants can decide not to answer particular survey questions, and can withdraw from the study at any time.
How will my contribution to the study be used?
The material from the study will be used by the researchers in reports, publications and conference presentations. These will be available to participants, communities, government and service organizations, funding bodies, the media, and international researchers. You will not be identified in any of these reports however it is possible that some details you provide will be recognisable to people you know.
Can I leave the study or change my mind if I want to?
Yes, you have the option to withdraw from the study at any time. If you do this it will not affect your treatment from any of the organisations involved or your access to services. If you do withdraw from the study, information you provided will be removed from the study.