Information for participants

Invitation to participate

You are invited to participate in The BeLongEng project, a longitudinal research study on engineering practice across Australia and New Zealand.

This information is provided for you to make an informed consent for participation in the project.

Who is running this project?

This study is being led by Assoc. Prof. Enda Crossin from the University of Canterbury ׀ Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha. Other research team members include:

  • Dr. Sarah Dart, QUT (Brisbane)
  • Prof. Les Dawes, QUT (Brisbane)
  • Assoc. Prof. Anne Gardner, UTS (Sydney)
  • Prof. Sally Male, The University of Melbourne (Melbourne)
  • Prof. Katharina Näswall, University of Canterbury (Christchurch)
  • Dr. Fleur Pawsey, University of Canterbury (Christchurch)
  • Prof. Gerard Rowe, University of Auckland (Auckland)

What is the purpose of the project?

This project aims to investigate the practices of engineers and the contexts of their work in Australia and New Zealand. We are interested in finding out about what engineers do, their careers, the factors that affect these, including how these change with time. To do this, we’ll follow study participants over a period of time.

What is involved in participating?

If you choose to take part in this project, you will be asked to complete a survey in 2022, 2023, 2025, 2027, 2029, 2032, 2037 and 2042. We will send out future surveys around May of each of these years.

The survey involves answering questions relating to your background, your career, your work environment, your experiences at work and the activities you do at work. Completing the survey should take around 40 to 50 minutes each time.

We will set an end date for each survey, and we will send you a reminder about any incomplete survey two weeks before the survey closes.

The online survey follows this information page.

Why is your involvement important?

The information from this study will help to better understand the work of engineers. The outcomes of the research can be used by tertiary education providers and engineering organisations to better prepare engineers for their careers, no matter where they end up working. Your involvement in the project is important because you will help with this understanding.

Why have you received this invitation?

You are invited to participate in this research because you have registered your interest in participating or you have visited the project website.

Your participation is voluntary (your choice). If you decide not to participate, there are no consequences. Your decision will not affect your relationship with me, the University of Canterbury or any member of the research team.

What are the criteria to participate?

We are seeking participants who have either a tertiary engineering qualification from Australia or New Zealand, or who are recognised as engineers in Australia or New Zealand.

The formal participant criteria are:

1. You must have one of the following:

  • A 2-, 3-, or 4- year engineering qualification from an Australian or New Zealand tertiary institution

    OR

  • A postgraduate engineering qualification from Australia or New Zealand

    OR

  • Recognition as having equivalent standing to at least a graduate level through membership to a professional engineering society in Australia or New Zealand (e.g. Engineers Australia, Engineering New Zealand);

    OR

  • Live in Australia or New Zealand and be eligible for membership to Engineers Australia or Engineering New Zealand.

2. You expect that you will be working for at least the next 10 years.

We will check your eligibility at the start of the survey. Even if you are not working in engineering, we encourage you to participate in the project.

Are there any potential benefits from taking part in this research?

By participating this project, you will help shape the future of engineering.

We will provide you with early access to an insight report, which will report on key aggregated (e.g. average) findings for engineers in Australia and New Zealand. This report will allow you to get a feel for where you sit in relation to the broader engineering population (e.g. salary, hours worked).

You will also have the option to join The BeLongEng Club, where you can meet other participants, and for you to gain early insights into the research. If you want to join The BeLongEng Club, you can provide an email address for this purpose at the end of the survey. Membership will not be linked with your other data.

Are there any potential risks involved in this research?

Some questions in the survey ask you to consider sensitive information about workplace discrimination. This may cause upset or distress. While it is unlikely that you will experience any significant distress from answering these questions, you are free to withdraw from the study if you feel uncomfortable. If you require further assistance and are in New Zealand you can call ‘Need to Talk’ on 1737. If you require further assistance and are in Australia you may call ‘Lifeline’ on 13 11 14. Alternatively, you can contact your local doctor or your employee assist program.

What if you change your mind during or after the study?

You are free to stop the survey at any time. To do this, simply close your browser window or the application (App) the survey is presented on. If you don’t finish the survey before the end date, we will assume that you have decided to withdraw from the study, and we will remove the incomplete survey data. We will not be able to remove your data from previous surveys, as the results will already be processed. If we receive an email error (e.g. a bounce), we will contact you via telephone to check that we have your correct email address.

If you would like to opt out of any future surveys, please email Assoc. Prof. Enda Crossin, and you will not be sent any future surveys. Note that if you request this, we will not be able to remove your data from results that have already been published.

What will happen to the information you provide?

We will ask you to provide your name, personal email address and personal phone number. We will use this information to email you with this project information sheet, email you reminders about any incomplete surveys, to call you to check your email address in the case of an email error, and to email you with important notifications about the project, such as the release of a report. In the future, we might invite you to participate in other research related to this project. If you opt-in to the BeLongEng Club, we will send you invites to events via email.

All survey data will be password protected and stored on secure survey platform (Qualtrics). This survey data will then be de-identified by replacing your name, email address, phone number and year of birth with a unique number. This unique number will be held securely on the survey platform and will only accessible by the researchers from the University of Canterbury (listed above).

Your de-identified data will then be moved to a de-identified database, which will be stored on a CloudStor, a secure, password-protected cloud-based storage system used extensively by universities in Australia and New Zealand. This de-identified database will then be shared with the research team (listed above).

Researchers from other tertiary institutions (polytechnics, TAFEs or universities) may apply to the project team to access some data from the de-identified database. These external researchers will be required to adhere to strict data privacy conditions to protect your identity. These external researchers will only have access to de-identified data; your name, phone number and email address will not be shared with these external researchers. A description of the process that these external researchers will need to adhere to will be made available on the project website.

We will keep your data for 10 years after the end of the project. Assoc. Prof. Enda Crossin will be responsible for making sure that members of the research team and external researchers use your de-identified data for the purposes mentioned in this information sheet.

Will the results of the study be published?

Results from this study may be published in reports and peer-reviewed academic journals. Results will also be presented during conferences, workshops or seminars to wider engineering organisations, companies, as well as professional and academic communities.

The results of this research will also be published by research students, usually in the form of a thesis. These students will be required to adhere to the ethics protocols for the project. These theses are typically made available to the general public through the university libraries. We will also publish a summary of the research results after each data wave on our webpage.

Many tertiary institutions across Australia and New Zealand (polytechnics, TAFEs and universities) and engineering organisations (e.g. Engineers Australia, Engineering New Zealand) have helped the research team recruit participants for this project. In exchange, we may provide aggregated (e.g. average) results to these institutions and organisations to help them with internal decision making, like improving engineering curriculum or changing policies on engineering work. We will not share your data unless you have completed a qualification with that institution.

You will not be identifiable in any publication.

How is the project funded?

The project does not currently have any external funding. We rely on the time of the project team, internal funding from universities, and unpaid time from our peak-body supporters. In the future, we will be seeking external funding to help support the expenses of running the project, like paying researchers, maintaining the project website and running events.

What if my contact details change?

We will be providing a form on our website for participants to update their personal email address/phone number. Alternatively, you can email Assoc. Prof. Enda Crossin with your updated contact details.

Who can I contact if I have any questions or concerns?

If you have any questions about the research, please contact Assoc. Prof. Enda Crossin.

This study has been reviewed and approved by the University of Canterbury Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). If you have concerns or complaints about this research, please contact the Chair of the HREC.

What happens next?

If you want to participate, click the link below. You will then be redirected to the secure survey. This information will be presented to you again, and you will be asked for consent to participate. If you consent and start the survey, we will email you a copy of this information sheet.

Join the Project
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