Our Commitment

We are committed at all times to ensuring our research is:

Never using complex jargon where simpler language will do, while ensuring data and analysis are presented clearly and concisely;

Ensuring our methodology and questions are closely aligned with project objectives, providing results that can be trusted;

Creating research that can be easily used by a wide variety of stakeholders, so that reports aren’t just left to languish in a filing cabinet.

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Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
PO Box 1555,
Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
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The new Privacy Act – what does it mean for you?

On March 12th 2014, the new Australian Privacy Act came into force. And the key impact of this will come via the enforcement of 13 new Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).

The APPs apply to any public- or private sector company with turnover exceeding $3 million. However they may also have implications for smaller suppliers, especially those supplying government or acting as sub-contractors to companies which are subject to the APPs.

“We will need to be more selective in seeking demographic information in surveys – ‘it may come is useful at some stage’ is no longer good enough.”

The new APPs cover a huge range of privacy issues across an even wider range of industries. But for Jetty Research and its clients, the main implications appear to be:

  • Data should be de-identified as promptly as possible after research has been conducted, and any personal contact information deleted or destroyed as soon as practical;
  • Any organisation subject to the APPs needs to have an up-to-date privacy policy, and procedures/forms in place for anyone requesting any personal data held on them;
  • It will be harder to justify conducting “anonymous” surveys – i.e. those in which the sponsor’s name cannot be disclosed;
  •  We will need to be far more selective about deciding what demographic information to seek in surveys – “it may come in useful at some stage” is no longer good enough;
  • Personal information (including contact details) cannot be shared with third parties – even if this means clients – and especially not if it would be used for direct marketing.
  • Individuals can ask an organisation subject to the APPs to see all their personal information at any time. They can also seek to have it amended if they don’t agree with it!

There’s obviously a lot more to the new APPs than these six bullet points can convey. But hopefully they provide enough of a snapshot to explain why the new Act could be a big deal for many organisations.

Graph of the month: The miracle of RBT

When I was a kid back in the 1970’s, there were over 100 road deaths in NSW every month. It was such a big deal that the Herald used to run a progressive tally on its front page every Saturday.

In late 1982, NSW Police Minister George Paciullo introduced random breath testing – to huge opposition from the usual quarters. (According to the Telegraph, It was even described then by the head of the NSW AHA as “an unfair attack on responsible, sane, drinking drivers who pose absolutely no danger on the road”!)

Road Fatalities in NSWBut as the graph to the right shows, the effects have been startling. The blue line shows the total number of road fatalities in NSW each year since 1945, while the red line shows the road deaths per 100,000 of population over the same period.

For each of the past three years, annual road deaths have fallen below 400 – lower than in 1945! Of course, there have been other factors behind the declining road toll as well – these include compulsory seat belts (introduced late 1970’s), air bags, ABS Braking, improved structural safety, more rigorous learner and provisional license requirements, and (some) safer roads.

But few would now would deny the role of RBT as one of the great public health success stories of the late 20th century. Plus it shows what one brave pollie can achieve against a host of powerful vested interests!

What’s the “ideal” sample size?

The most common question we get asked by our clients is “what’s the right sample size for my random survey?”

It would lovely if there was just one answer, but instead it typically depends on four competing variables:

  1. What size random sampling error (RSE) you are prepared to accept for the overall sample;
  2. What RSE you are willing to accept for sub-samples (e.g. by age or region);
  3. What sample size looks “credible” to external stakeholders – e.g. councillors/directors, or media; and of course
  4. Your budget.

Interestingly, and surprisingly to many, the size of your target  population is almost  irrelevant – or at least once that population reaches approx. 20,000 or more. That’s why most national political polls can achieve +/- 3 per cent accuracy with only 1000-1200 respondents.

The important thing to realise is that once you pass a sample size of 500-600, the degree of improvement in your sampling error becomes ever smaller.

So unless you are concerned about RSE on your sub-samples, the benefit of adding new respondents is less and less likely to outweigh the marginal cost of those additional interviews.

We are always happy to chat with clients about finding a sample size that is right for their needs. And we won’t ever try to sell you on the idea of “the more the better!”

Quote of the month:

“The main thing holding us back in life is a fear of uncomfortable conversations.”

Until next time…
If you have any questions, comments or other feedback about the issues raised in this newsletter, please email or call me. Otherwise, thanks so much for taking the time to read this.