Your questions answered

What is a longitudinal survey?

Longitudinal surveys follow the same participants over an extended period of time, usually several years. For LSAY, participants begin the study when they're 16 years old and will be contacted once a year for up to 10 years.

How long will the survey take?

The survey will only take about 20 minutes to complete!

Who conducts the survey?

LSAY is managed and funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, with support from state and territory governments. The Department contracts the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) to manage the survey, analyse and publish the survey results. NCVER engages Wallis Market & Social Research (Wallis) to conduct the online survey and computer-assisted telephone interviews.

How are participants selected?

LSAY participants are selected from Australian school students some of whom have taken part in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This is a written test that assesses the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds and is run by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Do I have to take part?

No, it's entirely up to you. LSAY is a voluntary survey. If you’d like more information before you consent to take part our Fact sheet for participants can help.

Who designs the survey questionnaire?

The survey questions are designed collectively by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), the Australian Government Department of Education and Training and Wallis Market & Social Research (Wallis). Changes to the survey are kept to a minimum to maintain consistency across each year.

Does everyone remain in the survey?

Sometimes, for various reasons, not all participants will take part in every annual interview. When participants drop out, this is known as survey attrition, and it can lead to less accurate results. For the best results, it's important that participants remain in the survey over the full 10 years if possible.

Will I remain anonymous if I take part?

Absolutely. Wallis, an accredited research organisation, collects your details and will ensure they are kept private and confidential. This information is never made publicly available. Wallis fully endorses and adheres to the National Privacy Principles in the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 in relation to the handling of personal information.

For more information on privacy, check out our Privacy Notice.

What questions will you ask?

LSAY covers a range of topics about school, further study or training, work and wellbeing. Questions will focus on topics such as:

  • school (including attitudes, engagement and subject choices)
  • post-school study and transitions (including leaving school early, training pathways and tertiary education)
  • work (including earnings, job seeking and unemployment)
  • equity and social aspects (including wellbeing and life satisfaction).

When will the data be available?

It can take a while to analyse the data, so information from your survey will be reported within 12 months.

Can everyone access LSAY data?

Data is stored with the Australian Data Archive and can only be accessed through a formal approval process. Use of the data is restricted to research purposes only and is not to be used for commercial or financial gain. None of the data contains any of our participants' personal details.

Summary results and key findings from the surveys are published in LSAY reports.

Who uses the LSAY data?

A range of researchers may use LSAY data to help inform youth transitions policy. Previous LSAY surveys have helped us provide more tailored career information and assistance; they've given us a greater insight into the impact of working and studying on students, and they've even provided a basis on how organisations can help young Australians from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

I’ve been asked if you can link my survey data – what does this mean?

Over the course of the LSAY program we will be asking your permission to link your LSAY data to other sources of information. Consent to link your data is voluntary and you can still take part in the survey even if you don’t want your data linked. By ‘linking’ data together we can build a better picture of what life is like for young people in Australia.

  • Linking to school results: If this is your first time doing LSAY we’ll be asking at the end of the survey if we can link your survey data with your school results. This means getting your permission to add your NAPLAN scores from Years 3, 5, 7 and 9, as well as your senior secondary school subject results (Years 11 and 12) to your survey data. For more information please read our fact sheet: Linking your school results to your LSAY data.
  • Linking to VET: If you have taken part in vocational education and training (VET) we will be asking your permission to link your VET collection records to your survey data. This means asking for your permission to add both your past and future VET records to your survey data. For more information please read our fact sheet: Linking your VET records to your LSAY data.

Will I be reimbursed for my time?

We appreciate the time you spend completing these surveys and would love to thank you in any way we can. For more information, see For participants.