What is Life Patterns?

For the past 30 years, the Life Patterns team has followed a group of young people that left secondary school in 1991. The project has now documented the lives of this group from their late teens into their mid-thirties.

Over the past years the project team have been setting up a follow-up study of a new generation. Our study of this new cohort, funded by the Australian Research Council, is following young people across Australia as they progress through their jobs, personal lives, and further study into their thirties.

Why do you need me to participate?

As our previous research has found, the lives of young people today are markedly different from those of previous generations. It is harder for younger people to find quality jobs and affordable housing once they leave school. Understanding the challenges, but also the successes of young people is critical to developing policies that benefit young people now and into the future. Your participation will also build upon the research we have already collected, which will allow us to make comparisons between generations overtime.

What is involved?

Participation will involve filling out a short questionnaire every year and the possibility of participating in an interview if you wish.

  • Participants will also be sent a questionnaire approximately once a year from 2022, but can stop participating at any time.
  • Surveys take approximately 20 minutes to complete and interviews take 50 minutes approximately.
  • If you take part, your involvement will be voluntary, and you will be able to withdraw from the project at any time. You can also withdraw any unprocessed information previously supplied.

What kinds of questions will be asked of me?

  • The questionnaires and interviews will ask about your life experiences, including work and study, your plans for the future and your reflections on your progress over time.
  • Those who wish to participate in an interview will be asked similar questions but will be provided with more time to discuss these issues in-depth

What happens to my data?

  • Participants are assigned a code so that your name will not be used in the data analysis.
  • Only one researcher will have access to your name, which will be separated from any data that you supply, for the purpose of sending out further questionnaires. In this way we will protect your anonymity and, subject to legal limitations, ensure confidentiality.
  • The information from the project will be stored in a locked filing cabinet, and on a password protected computer.
  • Findings will only be made public in a form that does not identify any participant. The information will be held for future reference because it is a valuable database for future researchers.

Who can I talk to about this?

Any questions about this research can be directed to the research team by e-mail: