COMPASS seminars 2017

Fraudulent results and failed replications: The effect of flawed research on the public's trust in science

Professor Rainer Bromme

9 October 2017

Cases of deliberately faked data as well as questionable research practices have led to an increase in paper retractions, especially in the life sciences. In psychology several crucial studies (covered in many textbooks) cannot be replicated. In my presentation I will at first describe this development and will discuss how such examples of flawed research might impact on the public's trust in Science. Then I will present a recent series of studies from our lab on the effects of replications (successful and unsuccessful) upon laypersons' trust in science.

Rainer Bromme has been Professor (Educational Psychology) at the Institute of Psychology, University of Münster, Germany since 1995. He is now 'Senior Professor', with a research focus on science communication, and is still involved in PhD programmes. His present research addresses learning in formal and informal contexts, especially communication among experts and laypersons, internet use, and the Public Understanding of Science.

From 2009 to 2015 Professor Bromme coordinated a German Science Foundation (DFG) funded research programme on Science and the Public: The public understanding of conflicting scientific evidence. At present, he is one of the PIs within the DFG funded Research Training Group Trust and Communication in a Digitized World at the University of Münster.

Professor Bromme’s visit to the University of Auckland was funded by the University of Auckland Distinguished Visitor Award to Professor Gavin Brown.

Look who's talking: bipartite networks as representations of a topic model of New Zealand parliamentary speeches

Demi Vasques

16 October 2017

Quantitative methods to describe the participation to debate of Members of Parliament and the parties they belong to are lacking. Here we propose a new approach that combines topic modeling with complex network techniques, and use it to characterize the political discourse at the New Zealand Parliament. We implement a model to discover the thematic structure of the government's digital database of parliamentary speeches, and construct from it bipartite networks linking Members of the Parliament to the topics they discuss. Our results show how topic popularity changes over time and allow us to relate the trends followed by political parties in their discourses with specific social, economic and legislative events. Moreover, the community analysis of the bipartite network projections reveals which parties dominate the political debate as well as how much they tend to specialize in a small or large number of topics. Our work demonstrates the benefits of performing quantitative analysis in a domain normally reserved for qualitative approaches, providing an efficient way to measure political activity.

Demi Vasques does research in the broad area of network science of complex systems, working with models that mimic network properties to study the interplay between the network structure and the dynamical processes of the system. He is especially interested in social interactions like collaborations and politics. Current projects he is involved are: innovation and collaboration networks of patent owners; scientific collaboration networks; and political networks in New Zealand.

Food, Family, and the Wellbeing of Young People

Jennifer Utter

2 October 2017

Poor nutrition and emotional wellbeing are among the most significant and persistent health concerns facing young people in New Zealand. In this seminar will include an overview of what we have learned from the Youth2000 surveys about how food and nutrition relate to the health and wellbeing of young people. Specifically, I’ll discuss families eating together, adolescent involvement in cooking and food insecurity. I will also share recent findings from a feasibility study to improve youth wellbeing through families cooking at home and eating together.

Jennifer Utter is a senior lecturer in the Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Population Health. Her research interests are in nutrition, adolescent health and public health.


David Welch

25 September 2017

Noise is ubiquitous in our society. The word itself has two main usages:

  1. It describes sound that can damage our ears due to its level; and
  2. It describes unwanted sound. Thus, there are both physio-pathological and psychosocial interpretations of the term.

But the picture is even more complex: we have done research demonstrating that noise in the sense of unwanted sound may also have negative health impacts and, on the other hand, dangerously high-level sound is often desired by people, for example loud music. These contradictions may cause confusion in people’s minds and conflation of ideas so that people believe (wrongly) that sounds which they do not find annoying could not be injuring them. Furthermore, there appears to be a process of acculturation around loud sound (especially music) that leads many people to perceive this as fun.

As if this were not complex enough, there also appears to be differential susceptibility to noise of both kinds. To help counter this confusion and the resultant acceptance of physical injury, my group has done work on the ‘Dangerous Decibels’ programme for schools and high-noise industries. The programme teaches people about how and why high-level sound can damage our ears, why this is not a good thing, and how they might go about protecting themselves from it. On another level, we have investigated and tried to promote the concept of the ‘soundscape’, the perceived sound environment, to help people come to realise how much we use and rely on our sense of hearing. In this work we hope that we will gradually show people why we should treasure our hearing and seek to promote aesthetically interesting sound environments in our society.

David Welch does research into noise and its effects on people as well as trying to understand why people often tend to accept the negative impacts. He also does research and community activity around how people might be better able to protect themselves from noise. Otherwise, his interests are fairly broad and reflect his background in psychology and auditory neurophysiology.

Designing Healthy Communities

Sam Corbett & George Weeks

18 September 2017

Sam Corbett and George Weeks will introduce the principles of public health in relation to human physiology; this in turn relates to the designs of our towns and cities. They will discuss the overwhelming consensus between walkable cities and activity levels and how these principles have shaped recent transport, health and urban design policy in London. They will also present on a planning initiative in Los Angeles to adopt a Healthy Design Ordinance to begin to change the built environment so that it promotes physical activity in the form of walking, bicycling and exercise.

Sam Corbett is a Principal Transport Planner and Client Manager with Jacobs and has nearly 20 years’ experience in the transport industry, including many years working as a transport planning consultant in the United States. He is an experienced project manager with excellent technical, communication and organisational skills, gained from having led numerous complex transport planning projects in constrained urban environments. Sam brings strong transport planning skills to all of his projects developed from working on a wide range of transport projects. He has a unique combination of planning and operational skill sets from working in both the public and private sector. The majority of Sam’s work has focused on assessing and improving urban transport systems, with particular focus on active modes and public transport.

George Weeks is a Specialist Urban Designer in the City Centre Unit at the Auckland Design Office. Prior to this (2011–2016) he was based in Transport for London’s Urban Design team where he developed the team’s expertise in monetising the benefits of high-quality public space, as well as providing design advice across London. He has a longstanding interest in transport and health and their combined implications for urban planning. He is a Chartered Town Planner, a Member of the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation, a Young Urbanist and a member of the Urban Design Group.

Baths, Bubbles, and Better Data

Hannah Binnie & Adam Barker

11 September 2017

Government departments, training providers, and industry bodies are all regular publishers of 'workforce analyses' – reports that seek to forecast the demand, and sometimes supply, for people and skills within an industry sector. These analyses typically focus on the total number of people required by an industry, but don’t tease out the implications for policy settings relating to areas like immigration and investment in tertiary training.

One of the reasons for this is the difficulty in modelling such interrelated processes as progression through career pathways, flows into a workforce from different recruiting pools, and the propensity of workers to leave an industry. Scarlatti has deployed two tools to make sense of the stocks and flows of people and skills in a workforce. The first is, of course, the IDI. The second is less well known in data research circles – a warm bubble bath.

Adam Barker is the director of Scarlatti Limited, a management consultancy firm that works with organisations in the innovation sector and in primary industries. Adam's work has spanned business strategy and project management but a recent focus has been work relating to human capability in the primary sector.

Hannah Binnie is an associate at Scarlatti. She graduated from the University of Auckland lin 2016 with a Master of Science majoring in Statistics. Her areas of research have included the optimisation of rodent eradication assessments, and the catch composition of snapper in commercial longline fisheries.

Q-Methodology and Kaupapa Māori Research

Emerald Muriwai McPhee

4 September 2017

Q methodology is a sensible fit for Kaupapa Māori research as it centres on the perspectives and subjectivities of participants through a bottom-up approach. Combined together the methodology opens up the possibility for an exploratory approach to research which seeks to understand complexities rather than being hypothesis driven. A Kaupapa Māori approach and Q methodology share the similarity of working across a variety of disciplines and being adaptable to and interested in different epistemologies. Baring its roots in psychological assessment of the individual, Q-methodology in health research brings forth the potential to disrupt the traditional power differentials between researcher and participant while allowing space for clusters of viewpoints to be explored and contextualised. We draw on our study Maori Health Identities funded by the Health Research Council to explore Q-methodology and its potential within Kaupapa Māori research.

Emerald Muriwai McPhee is a researcher at Te Rōpū Whāriki in the College of Health at Massey University. Emerald has a Masters in Psychology and a background in indigenous and social psychologies focusing on Māori identity, psychological distress, resilience, smoking behaviour, alcohol consumption and exercise prescription.

Additive Models and All That

Dr Thomas Yee

28 August 2017

Regression modelling is used very commonly to describe how a response variable depends on a set of explanatory variables. Most regression models are fitted in a model-driven manner, however, this can be dangerous. Instead, it can be very useful to allow a data-driven approach where the data can speak for themselves. Smoothing is the common way to achieve this. This talk surveys additive models in general, which can be considered the most successful 'modern' regression method. The opportunity is taken to describe some classes of models which extend additive regression modelling to a very wide range of response types. Although the talk is based on R software, the underlying motivations and concepts apply regardless of the choice of software.

Thomas Yee is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Auckland Department of Statistics. He has developed a large R package called VGAM which fits the classes of Vector Generalized Linear and Additive Models (a book by the same name appeared 2 years ago). His main research interests are regression modelling and statistical computing, with particular applications in biostatistics and ecology.

Markov Modelling for Assessment of Healthcare Interventions

Associate Professor Richard Milne

21 August 2017

Markov modelling is widely used to predict future costs, health benefits and cost effectiveness of novel healthcare interventions including pharmaceuticals, vaccines, medical devices and clinical programmes. This seminar will show how a Markov model is developed, using commercial modelling software. No prior knowledge of economic modelling is required.

Richard Milne is Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Population Health and a private consultant in health technology assessment. He has developed novel prospective economic models of potential new interventions including pharmaceuticals, vaccines, medical devices and clinical programmes. Currently he is conducting retrospective economic analyses of recently funded interventions. Richard was the Founding Editor of PharmacoEconomics and Founding President of the NZ chapter of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research.

Adolescents, Alcohol, and Injuries: Addressing a potent cocktail

Professor Shanthi Ameratunga

14 August 2017

Trauma care providers – the proverbial ambulance at the bottom of the cliff - attend to the chaos and carnage of alcohol-fuelled injuries on a daily basis. Many of those most vulnerable are young people. This seminar will explore the findings from a large trial evaluating a text-message intervention designed to reduce harmful drinking following a hospitalised injury; information from the Youth’12 survey of trends and disparities in adolescent drinking more generally; and the wider societal, policy, and researcher responsibilities in a context where industry influences are omnipresent.

Shanthi Ameratunga is a Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, and Director of the Trauma and Injury Research Group at the School of Population Health. A paediatrician and public health physician by training, she has a keen interest in the health of young people in Aotearoa, and enabling physical, social, and healthcare environments that provide equitable opportunities for the health and wellbeing of people of all ages.

Seasonal effects on obesity in New Zealand 4-year-old children

Dr Barry Milne

7 August 2017

Seasonal effects on obesity have been demonstrated in school children, with those measured in summer having highest prevalence. Investigations in pre-school children are less common, but have suggested the opposite pattern (highest in winter). We investigated seasonal effects on obesity in 4-year-old children using B4 School Check data. We found striking differences, with winter prevalence 20% higher than summer. Differences were observed across region, gender, ethnicity and deprivation groups.

Barry Milne is Director of COMPASS Research Centre. He has a Masters degree in Psychology from the University of Otago, and a PhD in Psychiatric Epidemiology from Kings College London. His main interests are in longitudinal and life-course research, and in the use of large administrative datasets to answer policy and research questions.

Improving rates of obesity in New Zealand 4-year-old children

Dr Nichola Shackleton

31 July 2017

Prevalence of childhood obesity is high in New Zealand, but is prevalence going up or down? We assessed trends in 4-year-old obesity from 2010/11 – 2015/16 using the B4 School Check, a national programme monitoring child growth and other health and developmental factors. There was evidence for decreasing prevalence of overweight, obesity and extreme obesity. These downward trends were observed across gender, ethnicity and deprivation groups.

Nichola Shackleton is a Research Fellow at COMPASS Research Centre, working on projects utilising big data to examine health and wellbeing in the early life course. She completed her PhD on socioeconomic inequalities in childhood excessive weight in the UK in 2014. She worked as a research associate with the adolescent health research team at the UCL Institute of Child Health, where she worked on projects relating to the potential impact of schools on adolescents’ health and risk taking behaviours, and socioeconomic inequalities in adolescents’ health.

The relationship between pedestrian connectivity and economic productivity in Auckland's city centre

Mehrnaz Rohani & Grant Lawrence

24 July 2017

There is a positive relationship between connectivity and economic productivity. This is referred to as agglomeration economies. It is well established that transport infrastructure such as roads, railways, cycleways and walkways can support the dynamics of urban agglomeration by enabling better matching, learning, and sharing between economic actors. There are established procedures for estimating the impact of new roads and railways on economic productivity at the regional or inter-regional level. However, the role of walking (or pedestrian connectivity) in supporting agglomeration economies is not as widely understood.

My paper investigates the relationship between pedestrian connectivity and economic productivity in Auckland’s city centre. It builds on a 2014 study of the Melbourne city centre (SGS, 2014). The density and connectivity of jobs (effective job density, or EJD) in the Auckland city centre is measured and compared with labour productivity. A census of more than 3000 businesses in the Auckland city centre was carried out to allocate employment by industry to each building to estimate each building’s EJD. Connectivity is measured by the walking distance and travel time between jobs incorporating traffic signal delays, pedestrian path types and deviations from a direct path. The results show a positive and statistically significant association between walking EJD and estimated labour productivity within the Auckland city centre. Locations that are more walkable tend to have higher productivity.

Mehrnaz Rohani is a Research Economist from RIMU, the research and evaluation unit within Auckland Council. She has a Masters degree in economics from Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran. Her main interests are transport and resource economics as well as economic evaluation.

Grant Lawrence is a Research analyst from the Research and Evaluation unit within Auckland Council. He has a Masters Degree in Science from AUT University and a background in spatial analysis, geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing. His broad areas of research includes land cover/use monitoring, urban forests and spatial analysis, pedestrian connectivity and urban form.

Constructing comprehensive population cohorts for health and social research using the New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI)

Dr Jinfeng Zhao and Associate Professor Daniel Exeter (presenting),
Dr Sheree Gibb, Professor Rod Jackson, Dr Suneela Mehta

9 June 2017

Having an appropriate population denominator is crucial for analysing health and social data. However, the most common sources of population denominators in New Zealand have their limitations.

In this presentation, we outline the construction of the “VIEW-IDI cohort” - the largest and most comprehensive individual level population cohort possible for census day 2013 using Statistics NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) for use as a denominator in health and social research. We also used the IDI to construct two commonly used population denominators for census day 2013: a Health Service Utilisation (HSU) population using health datasets alone, and the usually-resident population who completed the 2013 population Census.

We compared the three cohorts by age, gender, ethnicity, area deprivation (NZDep2013) and District Health Board.

Separate cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevalence estimates were calculated for the three population denominators, which were compared by age, gender and ethnicity to determine the extent to which the CVD prevalence was over- or under-estimated in the HSU and Census populations, using the IDI population as standard.

The IDI environment offers significant opportunities for health and social research. The VIEW-IDI population denominator was designed to extend our research on developing CVD-risk prediction tools using routine data, however the methodology created a national cohort that can be used to explore social, demographic and geographic variations for any health outcome.

Jinfeng Zhao has worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Auckland’s School of Population Heath for past 5 years. She has expertise in Geographical Information Science (GIS) and its application in social and health research, big data analytics, visualisation, and knowledge discovery. She completed her PhD on visualising integrated spatiotemporal and activity dimensions of individual movement datasets.

Her broad areas of research interest include spatial and temporal epidemiology, spatial statistical analysis, interactive online mapping, development of neighbourhood geographies, and analysis of factors that are associated with health outcomes (e.g., accessibility, time use, rurality, seasonality, migration, deprivation and demography).

She was recently part of a team that developed a new index of deprivation for New Zealand and is currently working on the HRC programme ‘Vascular risk informatics using epidemiology and the web 2020’.

Daniel Exeter is a Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology at the University of Auckland. He is a quantitative health geographer and has a background in Geographical Information Systems and spatial analysis. Using large datasets such as the census or routine health databases, his research aims to identify, and provide solutions to inequalities in health. He is currently leading research to deliver a new measure of neighbourhood disadvantage in NZ, and was recently awarded Marsden funding to conceptualise socioeconomic position among the elderly population. He is a co-investigator on the HRC-VIEW programme of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction research, where he uses big data to investigate the geographical variations in treatment, outcomes and CVD-related service utilisation.

The Graduate Longitudinal Study NZ – an overview of the study and its findings for Māori graduates

Dr Karen Tustin and Dr Reremoana Theodore

2 June 2017

The National Centre for Lifecourse Research’s Graduate Longitudinal Study New Zealand (GLSNZ) is an ongoing project, that over a 10-year period, will investigate the employment, health and social outcomes of more than 8,700 graduates from all eight New Zealand universities. To date, information has been collected when the graduates were in their final year of study (in 2011) and 2-years post-graduation (in 2014).

This seminar will provide you with an overview of the GLSNZ and will use examples from its research with Māori graduates to highlight how the data is being analysed.

Karen Tustin is the Director of the GLSNZ. Her current work aims to understand the value of a New Zealand tertiary education by exploring how New Zealand graduates fare in the years following university, in terms of their lifestyles, employment and career development, and their health and wellbeing.

Reremoana (Moana) Theodore is the Co-Director of the National Centre for Lifecourse Research (NCLR). Her research interests include Māori health and education, lifecourse research, and the development of chronic disease. She has published in the areas of Māori university participation and completion.

Paternal depression during pregnancy and after childbirth: evidence from Growing Up in New Zealand

Lisa Underwood

26 May 2017

Background: There is evidence that men whose partners are pregnant or have recently given birth are at risk of developing depression symptoms, especially if their partner experiences perinatal depression.

Aim: This study aimed to identify risk factors for antenatal and postnatal paternal depression.

Methods: An ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample of 3528 men living in New Zealand completed interviews during their partner's pregnancy and nine months after childbirth. Depression symptoms were measured using the Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS) and the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9).

Results: Antenatal paternal depression symptoms (EDS>12) affected 2.3% of fathers and were associated with paternal perceived stress (OR=1.4, 95%CI 1.3 to 1.5) and fair to poor paternal health (OR=2, 95%CI 1.1 to 3.5) during their partner's pregnancy. Postnatal paternal depression symptoms (PHQ-9>9) affected 4.3% of fathers and were associated with paternal perceived stress in pregnancy (OR=1.12, 95%CI 1.1 to 1.2), relationship status at nine months after childbirth (OR=5.6, 95%CI 2 to 15.7), fair to poor health at nine months (OR=3.3, 95%CI 2 to 5.1), employment status at nine months (OR=1.8, 95%CI 1.1 to 3.1) and a past history of depression (OR=2.8, 95%CI 1.7 to 4.7).

Conclusions: Expectant fathers are at risk of depression symptoms if they feel stressed or are in poor health. In this study, rates of depression were higher during the postpartum period and were associated with adverse social and relationship factors. Paternal depression was not associated with maternal depression when other factors were taken into account. Identifying who is most at-risk of paternal depression can help inform interventions to help men and their families.

Lisa Underwood is a health service researcher with a background in psychology. Having previously worked at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London where she completed her PhD in 2012, Lisa is currently a Research Fellow at the Centre for Longitudinal Research where she works on the longitudinal cohort study Growing Up in New Zealand.

Life in a New Zealand rest home: focusing on care within an institution

Angela Rapson

19 May 2017

Rest homes today function as a primary source of care for adults who can’t live in their own home or with family. Originally arising from workhouses, rest homes are now dominated by the medical model of care, with the purpose of managing resident’s health with the assistance of medical professionals and regular medication. Critical scholars argue that rest homes act as total institutions where the needs of residents are passed over in favour of effectively carrying out bureaucratic processes. Previous studies have found some evidence that these organisations impose a number of formal and informal rules on residents, which strips them of their independent identity, but there are currently few studies examining rest homes as these total institutions within the literature. This study aimed to address this gap by acting as the first sociological ethnographic study of a rest home in New Zealand. The main finding of this research indicated that rest home care that is considered acceptable within society also confined and limited the lives of the residents living in the rest home.

Angela Rapson recently completed a Masters in Sociology and has a research background in Psychology and Public Health. She has worked as a Research Assistant across New Zealand Universities such as the University of Auckland Public Health Department, AUT’s Health Sciences Department and the University of Waikato’s School of Health Psychology. Currently, Angela’s research focus is on control within intimate relationships during parenthood and mixed method’s research.

Countries are not invariant on PISA: A doubtful basis for policymaking

Professor Gavin Brown

12 May 2017

The OECD PISA tests of 15 year olds are used to rank participating economies and identify educational policy and schooling practice factors that contribute to rank performance in reading, science, and mathematics. This talk will use a confirmatory factor analysis invariance study of the 2009 PISA reading test to identify the limited comparability of performance across participating jurisdictions. Language similarity, reading script, pedagogical priorities, and socio-economic status are used to shed light on the nature of comparability. Suggestions as to how PISA results could be legitimately compared will be made introduced.

This talk is based on a published study: Asil, M., & Brown, G. T. L. (2016). Comparing OECD PISA reading in English to other languages: Identifying potential sources of non-invariance. International Journal of Testing, 16(1), 71–93. doi: 10.1080/15305058.2015.1064431

Gavin Brown is Director of the Quantitative Data Analysis and Research Unit in the Faculty of Education and Social Work. He is an Affiliated Professor at the University of Umea, Sweden and an Honorary Professor at the Education University of Hong Kong. His work focuses on the psychology of testing and he is the lead editor of the 2016 Routledge Handbook of Human and Social Conditions in Assessment.

Trump’s ethno-nationalism: America’s problem or real possibility for New Zealand?

Associate Professor Louise Humpage

5 May 2017

United States President Donald Trump has expressed anti-immigration views that frame naturalisation and birth as insufficient means to establish an appropriate sense of entitlement and belonging within a country. This seminar asks: might similar views be present in New Zealand? To answer this question, I draw upon data from the International Social Survey Programme’s module on citizenship in 2015 to consider what factors the public regard as important for constituting a ‘true’ New Zealander. Overall findings suggest that New Zealanders prioritise an open, affective understanding of national identity. However, certain groups of New Zealanders view the boundaries of national identity in a more ascriptive, exclusive manner and could potentially impact the New Zealand General Election in 2017.

Louise Humpage is an Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Auckland. She has written widely in the areas of indigenous affairs policy and welfare reform in both New Zealand and Australia. She has further research interests in public attitudes to the welfare state, culminating in Policy Change, Public Attitudes and Social Citizenship: Does Neoliberalism Matter? (2015, Policy Press), citizenship and national identity.

Necessary Foundations: Infrastructure for social science research in Aotearoa/NZ

Professor Charles Crothers

21 April 2017

The social science establishment in any jurisdiction needs (to some extent) a (somewhat) agreed agenda and the organisational structures and resources (including human resources) necessary to effect this. The presentation will assay some suggestions about agreed research capacity-building agenda and layout the sorts of structures and resources we have in NZ for accomplishing a programme of research for furthering the agenda.

Charles Crothers is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social Sciences at AUT, after previously serving as a Professor of Sociology at the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa. Prior to this position Charles had lectured in the Departments of Sociology at the University of Auckland, and Victoria University and had been President of the New Zealand Sociological Association. He was awarded the SAANZ 'Scholarship Prize' in 2008.

His research and teaching interests span 5 broad areas:

  1. Sociological/Social Theory
  2. Social Research Methodology/methods
  3. Sociology of Science and Social Science
  4. Studies of New Zealand and Auckland
  5. Social Criticism, Social Policy and Social Justice.

Communicating Data Stories

Harkanwal Singh

7 April 2017

Data is increasingly the raw material of stories we want to tell. We go great lengths to understand what our data has to say, whether through modelling, or exploratory analysis. Our understanding however does not guarantee the understanding of our findings by the audience. A long written text on a topic is unlikely to excite non-specialists. Visualisations are a way of communicating to a general audience but also to the specialists in a more intuitive and engaging manner. How do you create a visualisation that tells a compelling story? I will share some practical tips on creating better visualisations, which focus on telling stories through data.

Harkanwal Singh is the data editor at The New Zealand Herald. He is interested in telling compelling data stories, primarily through interactive visualisation.

Surveys, Social Licence, and the IDI

Pauline Gulliver & Monique Jonas

31 March 2017

Since the late 1990s, social licence has gained currency as a concept that captures societal acceptance of controversial practices. There is a continuum of processes that exist for getting a social licence – it can be explicitly negotiated or assumed to exist. In this presentation, we will describe findings from a project that was undertaken to develop a deeper understanding of the degree of social licence that may exists for linking sensitive, survey-based data with data that is already stored in the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI).

This collaborative project, conducted by a team from The University of Auckland and Statistics New Zealand and funded by the Data Futures Partnership, set out to gain in-depth knowledge of how potential participants of a survey on relationships and life experiences feel about having their data linked, and how this compared with the views of participants involved with a survey on a less sensitive topic (the 2018 census). Within this presentation, we will summarise findings from a wide range of focus group and interview participants, exploring and considering the implications of the findings in relation to the values of the Data Futures Partnership (value, inclusion, trust and control). This project was co-funded through a Data Catalyst Grant from the Data Futures Partnership.

Pauline Gulliver is a Research Fellow in the School of Population Health, the University of Auckland. Pauline comes with a strong background in quantitative research and data analysis. In the past 15 years this has been specifically focused in injury prevention and family violence. Pauline’s PhD focused on the design and application of tools for measuring readiness to change health-related behaviours. She has also been involved with research related to changes in community mental health service provision; community-based injury prevention initiatives and legislation for pool fencing. Recent research includes measuring the long-term outcomes of violence in pregnancy, understanding the proximal and distal factors associated with intimate partner violence, and evaluation of administrative data sources for measuring community levels of family violence in New Zealand.

Monique Jonas is a senior lecturer in ethics at the School of Population Health, the University of Auckland. She has a PhD in Medical Ethics from Kings College, London. Her research focuses upon the ethical and political aspects of relationships between families and the state. She has published on topics such as individual funding requests, the harm principle and childhood, child nutrition guidelines, parental rights and surrogacy disputes, decision-making for seriously ill neonates, and competence to consent. She has conducted workshops in research ethics with NHS and University Ethics Committees across the United Kingdom. She has been a member of New Zealand’s National Health Committee and is a current member of the National Ethics Advisory Committee. Monique is the Director of the Bachelor of Health Sciences at the School of Population Health.

Toward a more nuanced understanding of the deprivation-childhood obesity relationship in NZ

Daniel Exeter, Jinfeng Zhao, Sue Crengle, Arier Lee, Michael Browne, Nichola Shackleton

24 March 2017

There is evidence that childhood obesity is strongly associated with neighbourhood deprivation conditions in NZ and abroad. In this study, we explore the deprivation-childhood obesity gradient among 5958 ‘data zones’ in New Zealand, by comparing the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), a deprivation index developed using administrative data sources in New Zealand, with the NZ Deprivation Index (NZDep2013).

We pooled anonymised, individual-level data regarding children aged 4 years from the B4School Check dataset for the 2010/11 to 2015/16 fiscal years, and categorised children whose weight was ≥95th percentile for their age and sex as ‘obese’. Multilevel logistic regression models were used to model the odds of a 4 year old child being obese, after adjustment for age, sex, prioritised ethnicity and deprivation. Separate models were run using NZDep, the IMD and its seven domains (Employment, Income, Crime, Housing, Health, Education, Access).

Overall, there was good concordance between the the IMD and NZDep. However, a particular strength of the IMD is its ability to measure 7 ‘domains’ of deprivation, which provided a more nuanced pattern of childhood obesity in NZ.

Daniel Exeter is a Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology at the University of Auckland. He is a quantitative health geographer and has a background in Geographical Information Systems and spatial analysis. Using large datasets such as the census or routine health databases, his research aims to identify, and provide solutions to inequalities in health. He is currently leading research to deliver a new measure of neighbourhood disadvantage in NZ, and was recently awarded Marsden funding to conceptualise socioeconomic position among the elderly population. He is a co-investigator on the HRC-VIEW programme of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction research, where he uses big data to investigate the geographical variations in treatment, outcomes and CVD-related service utilisation.

A Shiny new app for policymakers: Using simulation to test which factors most improve child wellbeing

Dr Barry Milne

17 March 2017

We have developed an app for policy makers which allows them to test policy scenarios around improving child wellbeing. Designed in the R web application, SHINY, the app allows policy makers and analysts to run realistic simulations in which the effects of changes in children’s circumstances are modelled. I will describe the construction of the model underpinning the app (‘Knowledge Lab’), and show how the app can be used to test models simulating obesity, education (school attainment), depression and alcohol abuse.

Barry Milne is a Senior Research Fellow and Acting Director of the COMPASS Research Centre. He has a Masters degree in Psychology from the University of Otago, and a PhD in Psychiatric Epidemiology from Kings College London. His main interests are in longitudinal and life-course research, and in the use of large administrative datasets to answer policy and research questions.

Pacific Research in New Zealand and the New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research

Associate Professor Damon Salesa

10 March 2017

NZIPR director Damon Salesa will give an overview of the institute, how it is looking to engage with the Pacific, plans for future research, and the research landscape in New Zealand.

Damon Salesa is Director of the New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research, based at the University of Auckland where he is also University Director of Pacific Strategy and Engagement and Head of Pacific Studies. He was educated at both the University of Auckland and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and received his doctorate in 2002. From 2002–2011 he worked at the University of Michigan, leaving as Associate Professor of history and American Culture. He was one of the authors of The New Oxford History of New Zealand, and jointly edited and authored (with Sean Mallon and Kolokesa Mahina-Tuai) Tangata o le Moana: New Zealand and the People of the Pacific (Te Papa Press, 2012). His book, Racial Crossings (Oxford University Press, 2011), won the Ernest Scott Prize in 2012.