What’s in a name?

The online survey is now closed. If you are interested in taking part in an interview please email Lara Mainka with your name and a contact telephone number. An interview will take approximately 1 hour and will be conducted over the telephone at a time and on a day that suit you.


You are invited to participate in a research project about the meaning and significance of family names for Australian parents.  Any Australian-resident parent, step-parent or guardian aged 18 years and over is eligible to take part. You may be married, partnered, separated, divorced or single, or in a heterosexual or same-sex relationship.

We are interested in how decisions about surnames and children’s personal names are made and what influences these decisions. Naming decisions may be guided by culture and tradition. They may also be shaped by our sense of connection or belonging to family history, other identity issues, personal taste and fashion. We know very little about what Australians think about this topic.

The researchers are Dr Deborah Dempsey at Swinburne University and Dr Jo Lindsay at Monash University.

Participation involves completion of a short questionnaire and should take about 15-20 minutes. Completing the questionnaire will be understood as your consent to take part in the study. You are under no obligation to continue if you decide you don’t want to finish once you begin.

The information you provide will be confidential and anonymous. Your responses will be grouped with those of other participants and used to write reports, articles and/or conference presentations. You or your family members will not be identifiable in any of these publications or presentations.  If you would like to take part in a follow-up telephone interview on this topic, there is an opportunity to leave your first name and phone number at the end of the questionnaire. Leaving your phone number is entirely optional and it will not be linked to your survey answers.

If you have any questions about any aspect of this research or you would like more information, please contact Dr Deborah Dempsey at Swinburne University of Technology on (03) 9214 4374 or ddempsey@swin.edu.au.

This project has been approved by or on behalf of Swinburne’s Human Research Ethics Committee (SUHREC) in line with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. If you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of this project, you can contact:

Research Ethics Officer, Swinburne Research (H68),

Swinburne University of Technology, P O Box 218, HAWTHORN VIC 3122.

Tel (03) 9214 8468 or +61 3 9214 8468 or resethics@swin.edu.au

I have read the above and I am happy to proceed with the survey.

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