Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Updated  July 2015

What is happening with the Beyond Bushfires project?

We are currently analysing the data and have released some preliminary discussions regarding these - which can be found in our recent newsletter.

The first round of surveys were completed in January 2013, the data analysis stage does take a long time. We are also currently completing walking tours and interviews with a small number of people to allow us a greater understanding of community-based experiences. Additionally, we are meeting with community groups to discuss the findings in relation to their local context.

How will results be distributed?

We are currently presenting initial findings to local community members. These visits are to local groups that we have formed a relationship with, in hope that we can have local input to assist in the interpretation of the findings. If you would like to know more about these visits contact:

When will results be available?

We conducted the Beyond Bushfires Symposium at University of Melbourne in October 2014 to share our findings with community members, service providers and funding bodies. We were booked out for the day and it was great to see so many people interested in and supporting our research. We have share some findings with local communities and are continuing this process. We are also currently working on presentation at conferences, reports and journals (publications) to be published soon.

Am I too late to participate?    

At this stage it is no longer possible to complete a survey. We have completed two rounds of surveys with participants and a smaller number of in-depth qualitative interviews. Feel free to contact us for more information. Email:

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 and around 750 of the same people also completed a second survey (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:


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 the Victorian 2009 Bushfires. An important focus of our study is the link between social connections and recovery, therefore part of our survey collects information on social networks and involvement within organisations. 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 live 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 counseling 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 impact 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.

How can I keep updated on what's going on?

You can join our mailing list, simply email us to subscribe. Also you can keep updated via our Facebook and Twitter pages.