Ausplay FAQs


AusPlay FAQs 


This page contains questions received by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) following the release of first results from its AusPlay survey (AusPlay) on 8 December 2016. Answers to the questions below have been provided by the ASC. Any questions about AusPlay that have not been answered below can be directed to: ausplay@ausport.gov.au

Method

The topics included in AusPlay were co-designed by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and its partners, including representatives from National Sporting Organisations (NSOs), state/territory departments of sport and recreation and the Federal Department of Health.

The starting point for the AusPlay questionnaire was the previous survey instruments used in the Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey (ERASS) and the subsequent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Multi Purpose Household Survey (MPHS) Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation module. These were used as a reference point, and the ASC sought to retain similar questions in AusPlay where possible. However, the design of AusPlay was primarily guided by the research objectives and the needs of the ASC and the sport sector; in order to maximise the utility of the AusPlay survey vehicle, and to ensure that it covered new and emerging issues in the field.

The overlapping dual sample frame design (mobile and landline phones) was chosen because it is the current best practice in survey methodology for a national survey with the general public not administered by the ABS. The annual sample size of 20,000 for adults is an increase on the ERASS and ABS adult surveys and was set to allow for more data to be available at individual activity level. Please see more information regarding the AusPlay methodology and AusPlay questionnaire (PDF  - 348 KB).

Data collection for AusPlay is continuous. Approximately 400 telephone interviews are conducted every week, all year long. The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) has committed to fund AusPlay until June 2018.
Yes. All state/territory departments of sport and recreation have been advised that they can add questions to AusPlay at their own cost from July 2017.
Yes. All state/territory departments of sport and recreation have been advised that they can boost sample in AusPlay at their own cost from July 2017. The sample size required is dependent on how the data intends to be used and the budget available for boosting the sample.

It is the nature of surveying that if several surveys examine one topic, results from one survey can differ from those of the others. This is particularly likely where there are differences in interviewee selection, sample design, sample size, questionnaire design and how the survey is conducted.

AusPlay is different to previous national surveys in each of these aspects and any comparison of survey data should take these methodological differences into account. Although AusPlay includes some similar questions to the ERASS and ABS surveys (e.g. In the last 12 months did you participate in any physical activities for sport, for exercise or for recreation?), the methodology is different and it should therefore be treated as a new time series.

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) has prepared two fact sheets that show how AusPlay differs from the ERASS and ABS adult and children’s national participation surveys. They are available for public download.

AusPlay is a large scale national survey that tracks the sporting behaviours and activities of the Australian population. It is funded and led by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC). The Active Qld Survey is Queensland’s first adult participation survey that provides robust data on adult participation in sport, exercise and recreation at a Queensland regional level. It is funded by the Queensland Government.

It is the nature of surveying that if several surveys examine one topic, results from one survey can differ from those of the others. This is particularly likely where there are differences in interviewee selection, sample design, sample size, questionnaire design and how the survey is conducted. AusPlay is different to the Active Qld Survey in each of these aspects and any comparison of survey data should take these methodological differences into account.

The ASC and Queensland Government have prepared a fact sheet that shows how AusPlay differs from previous national surveys and the Active Qld Survey.


Results

Each six months a new dataset is generated using the most recent sample of 20,000 adults (aged 15 years and over) and approximately 3,600 children (aged 0-14).
State/territory data was published on the Clearinghouse for Sport in late January 2017. Please note that the answer to 'Results' Question 4 about sampling variability also applies to state/territory data.
Frequency of participation by activity will be released in 2017. When it becomes available the data for activities with a low sample size will need to be used with caution (see answer to 'Results' Question 4).

Although the AusPlay results are as accurate as possible there are some factors which affect their reliability. One such factor is sampling variability. Sampling variability arises from basing the survey results on a sample, not the whole population. Sampling variability means that the survey results may differ from results that would be obtained if information had been collected from the whole population, the true value.

It is not possible to know how close any given survey result is to the true value. It is possible, however, to know how likely it is that any result will be close to the true value. In general for any survey result the larger the sample size the more likely it is that the result will be close to the true value.

Each survey result has been colour-coded to show how close it is likely to be to the true value. Results in black are based on reasonably large sample sizes and are thus quite likely to be close to the true values. These results can be used with confidence. Results in green are based on smaller samples and are less likely to be close to the true values. These results should be used with caution. Results in red are based on very small samples and are even less likely to be close to the true values. These results are considered too unreliable to use.

No. AusPlay collects participation data; not membership data. The club sport data in AusPlay relates to how participation took place e.g. survey respondents who self-identified that they participated in an activity through a sports club or association.

To gather this data respondents who have participated in an activity are asked: “In the last 12 months, did you do any of this through an organisation – like a club or a gym; or at a venue – like a pool or an oval?” AND (If “yes” mentioned) “Through what type of organisation, or at what type of venue, did you do it?” Responses are then grouped into the following categories for reporting purposes:

  • Sports club or association
  • Recreation club or association
  • Gym/fitness club/sports/leisure centre
  • Private studio
  • Individual personal trainer or coach
  • Education institution
  • Other

AusPlay is a national population tracking survey. It has been designed to generate nationally representative participation estimates.

Like the Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey (ERASS) and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) surveys, AusPlay asks respondents about their participation within the 12 months prior to interview. Therefore a respondent needs only to have participated at least once in the previous 12 months to be counted as a participant. This is different to club based participation collected by sporting organisations which is more likely to be based on other types of frequency, e.g. at least once per week.

The frequency of participation by activity data will provide more information when it is released in 2017 (see answer to 'Results' Question 3). However, please note that sample size may not allow for frequency of participation by activity data to be reported at the type of organisation/venue level e.g. sports club or association.

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) asked its consultant for AusPlay, ORC International (ORC), to conduct a feasibility study into whether AusPlay could be used to generate reliable participation estimates at local government level. ORC has advised this isn't possible and is primarily due to the sampling approach for AusPlay, which was designed to generate reliable national and state/territory estimates. However, given the strong demand from local governments for participation data, the ASC has established a small working group of local governments to explore the issue further.

The six-monthly updates of AusPlay data will be published on the Clearinghouse for Sport. Please complete the 'Subscribe to Sport Market Insights' form to be notified via email when new data or reports have been released by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC).