Thanks for supporting YOUR STORY.
YOUR STORY is a national research project made possible by Converge Oceania in partnership with a number of youth ministry organisations, groups, and denominations that are keen to support the spiritual lives of Australian young people.
If you are reading this page, you are probably a leader or a volunteer connected with one of these organisations. Thank you for your generosity and effort in supporting this research.
On this page you will find information about how you can help to gather this important data by distributing the survey and encouraging young people to complete it.
The aim of this project is to:
- understand the experiences and practices that Australian young people associate with God and spirituality in general,
- to explore how young people make sense of these experiences of God, and
- to identify the factors that influence how young people have come to experience God in the ways that they do.
This is ground-breaking research because we are focusing on how young people come to hold the views they do. Historically, surveys have concentrated on simply developing a snapshot of youth spirituality at one moment in time. While such research has its usefulness, it also has the downside of becoming outdated almost as soon as it is published.
Our goal is different. By focusing on how faith changes over time as well as examining the relationships and practices of young people across the years, this research will develop a description of the faith stories of young people and how these are shaped over time.
Our hope is that the results of this research will provide leaders like you with valuable insights into what Australian young people are thinking about God, and the factors that influence and shape their experience of God.
Who Can Participate In the survey?
Any young person can participate in the survey if they are:
- ordinarily resident in Australia
- aged from 16 to 20 years; and
- are connected in some way to Christian organisation like yours. This might be a church, youth group, community organisation, school, camp and so on.
We are keen to hear from all young people whether or not they personally identify as Christians. The survey is most relevant to young people who have some connection with the Christian story, whether they are committed, exploring, or rejecting.
Participants could be:
- A leader in a youth group, or a visitor who is curious about Christian things.
- A student at a Christian school, or an attendee on a Christian camp.
- A volunteer running a mission outreach, or a guest at a drop-in centre.
Participation involves completing an online survey. Follow the ‘Take the Survey’ link on the menu bar at the top of this page.
Please be aware that:
- We estimate it will take about 30-45 minutes to complete, longer if respondents are choosing to write extended responses (which they are welcome to do).
- Participants under the age of 18 will need to have consent from a parent or guardian PRIOR to commencing the survey (see more information about consent below)
- The survey is best completed with a device that has a keyboard. While it can be completed on a mobile phone, it tends to be frustrating for the participant and they frequently give up. A laptop, desktop or tablet with a keyboard is best.
How Can You Help?
- Get the word out
- Host an event
We need to get the word out! The more young people participate, the stronger the research results become.
Promoting the project – particularly amongst the young people that you are leading – would be incredibly helpful. If each group leader contributes a minimum of 10 completed surveys we should be well on the way to collecting enough data. (Of course, you are welcome to contribute as many as your group is able.)
Here are some ways you could do this:
- Promote the survey through official communications of your organisation, weekly news letters, group announcements, emails etc.
Further down this page you will find information, suggested text, and digital assets you can use in this respect. Encourage young people to go to www.yourstory.ridley.edu.au to find and take the survey.
- Promote the survey through social media channels.
Again, see suggested text and digital assets below.
- Identify existing events where gathered young people could take the survey.
For example, the survey could be completed by a small group, during a Christian Studies class at school, or during free time on a youth group night.
- Plan and host an event for the purposes of completing the survey.
For example, plan a youth gathering to explore faith as a spiritual journey and include time for completing the survey.
Organising an Event
Hosting an event can be a great way to get a number of surveys completed in a short period of time. Successful examples of this approach include:
- A school using a Christian Studies class for the survey.
- A young adults pastor who had a small group of 19-year-olds volunteer one of their small group sessions.
- A community group that had a laptop available and invited young people to complete the survey.
In most cases, the survey was used as a springboard for further conversations. Topics have included:
- Identifying the milestones that have been part of one’s faith journey
- Discussing how important relationships shape one’s faith journey
- Exploring how one’s faith and perceptions of God can change across the years
- Discussing where one’s faith might go in the future
Remember, if you are planning to organise a group event where young people under the age of 18 can complete the survey, parent/guardian consent must be attained prior to the event (see below).
Arranging Parent/Guardian Consent for Group Surveys
It is important to ensure that every young person provides their free and informed consent to participate in the survey. For young people aged under 18, a parent/guardian must also provide their consent. Such informed consent not only preserves the safety of the young person, but also preserves the integrity of this research.
Indicating consent is the first part of the survey and must be completed before proceeding to subsequent sections. If a parent/guardian of under 18s is present at the time of the survey, they can simply fill in the relevant sections and the young person can then complete the survey.
If you are hosting an event where the parent/guardian will NOT be present, you can follow these steps:
- Parent/Guardian consent forms can be forwarded separately using this link: Parent/Guardian Consent Form, or by directing parents/guardians to this url: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6866544/Your-Story-Consent
- Forward this link for parent/guardians to complete BEFORE the group is planned to take the survey.
- Once the consent form is completed, a confirmation email is automatically generated.
- Parents/Guardians and/or the young person must bring a copy of the email confirmation to be sighted by group organisers.
Spreading the Word
Not sure what to say or how to get the word out? Here are some examples of text that you can use to describe the project. You’ll also find some images you can use for promoting the research or to promote an event. Some of the images have some blank space where you can include group details if you are hosting an event.
YOUR STORY is a ground-breaking Australian research project exploring the spiritual experiences of young people aged 16-20.
The YOUR STORY Survey helps you to identify your experiences, choices and relationships that have shaped the story
of your faith.
Whether you believe or don’t believe in God, religion or spirituality, we would love to hear from you.
We want the stories of young people to shape the future of faith in Australia.
Find more information and take the survey at: www.yourstory.ridley.edu.au
YOUR STORY is an Australian research project exploring the spiritual experiences, beliefs and influences that have shaped the faith of young people. It involves taking an online survey that takes around 40 minutes to complete. The website and survey link for this project can be found at www.yourstory.ridley.edu.au
Some Matters To Be Aware Of
Please be aware of the following:
- The survey can be accessed through the website www.yourtory.ridley.edu.au.
- We have provided some digital assets that you can use in your communications and social media.
- We encourage you to be familiar with the materials associated with this survey prior to distribution so you can respond to any questions. You can read through the Participant Information Statement here.
- Informed Consent: it is of vital importance that young people freely consent to participate in the survey and are informed about how their information will be used. Information regarding the survey and their consent is given when they first click on the survey link. We have also provided this information statement regarding consent.
- Parent / Guardian Consent: Those under 18 years of age must also have the consent of their parent/guardian. If the parent/guardian is present, they can provide consent at the time the young person takes the survey. If the parent/guardian is not present at the time of taking the survey, their consent must be arranged in advance. This is quite straightforward and details are provided below.
- Please be available to talk with participants if anything is raised for them as a result of completing the survey. While it is not the intention of this survey, it is always possible that questions may inadvertently touch on a challenging matter or memory for young people. For this reason, we appreciate the fact that most participants will be connected to groups who are able to offer pastoral support.