What we do

Producing and sharing research

AIFS undertakes high-quality research that is:

  • rigorous and ethical
  • high-quality and cost-effective
  • relevant and responsive to policy and practice settings.

Most especially, we respect and value the commitment, views and input of all those who contribute to our research.

Key activities



Research services

Research services

For over 40 years, AIFS has been conducting high-quality research relevant to policy and practice. We are the experts in family research.

Quantitative research

AIFS projects with a significant reliance on data collection, representative sampling, and data and statistical analysis include:

Accessing our datasets

Access to the datasets of current AIFS projects requires either an individual or organisational licence. To apply, go to National Centre for Longitudinal Data Dataverse.

Datasets derived from past research undertaken by AIFS are available from the Australian Data Archive.

Data linkage

AIFS is an Accredited Integrating Authority. We can access a rich variety of administrative and other data sets to provide new information for research and policy making. See Data Linkage section, below.

Qualitative research

We use qualitative research methods to uncover trends in thoughts or opinions and gain a deeper understanding of how a person feels on a particular issue. Recent research projects with a significant qualitative research component include:

  • Weighing up the odds: Young men, sports and gambling
  • Children and Young People in Separated Families
  • Child Care Flexibility Trials.

Survey data collection

AIFS runs numerous surveys, some of which collect information on very sensitive topics, including violence and safety, mental health, gambling and substance abuse. Recent AIFS projects with a substantive survey component include:

  • Families in Australia Survey
  • Gambling Trends Study
  • National Elder Abuse Prevalence Study
  • Compliance with and Enforcement of Family Law Parenting Orders.

Program evaluation

Program evaluation is the systematic process of investigating if a program or service achieves its aims. AIFS has conducted innumerable program evaluations in the child and family sector. AIFS staff also work with sector professionals to build their capability to conduct their own program evaluations. Some of the many evaluations AIFS has conducted include:

  • Families and Children Expert Panel Project
  • Cradle to Kinder program evaluation
  • Child Care Flexibility Trials.
Data linkage

Data linkage

AIFS is an Accredited Integrating Authority, which means we are authorised to undertake high-risk data linkage projects involving Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes. Our accreditation allows us to negotiate and arrange access to a rich array of administrative and other data sources. Our linking of data sets provides valuable new information for research and policy making, in a secure, privacy-preserving manner.

We can provide the following services:

  • Data scoping: AIFS can identify data sources that can enhance research and provide new insights. We will assess the availability, feasibility and benefits of linking data.
  • Integrating data: Our established procedures for data integration comprise the actual process of data linkage and provision of documentation around the linked information. AIFS will ensure privacy and confidentiality during and after data integration.
  • Analysis and research using linked data: AIFS has more than 30 years’ experience conducting high-quality, responsive and impartial research. We are experts in planning, developing, collecting and analysing complex quantitative and qualitative data using a variety of research methods.

As well as linking administrative, person-level data, AIFS can enhance data sets using geographic and organisation data, including:

  • Socio Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)
  • distance data (e.g. distance to coast, travel time to GP)
  • MySchool information

Linkage capability

AIFS’ data-linkage expertise includes:

  • linkage of unit record (e.g. persons and organisations) using probabilistic and deterministic methods
  • integration of data: bringing together content data from various sources, either at the person or organisation level, or by geographic matching
  • privacy, including adherence to the Privacy Act 1988 and the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012, and capacity to undertake Privacy Impact Assessments
  • confidentiality
  • provision of useful metadata to data users
  • understanding of data quality issues, including the capability to report on and manage data quality issues in analysis and interpretation.

AIFS collaborates with data custodians and partnering data linkage agencies to optimise development of data assets.

Privacy and data security

AIFS adheres to a rigorous set of protocols to maintain a high degree of physical and information security, ensuring data linkage is conducted in a secure, privacy-preserving manner.

Our risk-management policy ensures all data are risk-assessed and evaluated for the potential of a privacy breach. All data are identified and confidentialised prior to release and subsequent analysis.

All data linkage undertaken by the AIFS is subject to approval by the AIFS Human Research Ethics Committee.

Contact us

AIFS Data Linkage and Integrating Authority

Email: [email protected]

Library service

AIFS library

AIFS’ library catalogue gives access to the Institute's collection of international and Australian research on family wellbeing in Australia.

The collection features 'grey literature' reports, books, journal articles, conference papers and book chapters. It covers a broad range of areas including: child abuse prevention; child development and psychology; family law; economics; demographics; family violence; sexual assault; and parenting.

Australian Family & Society Abstracts

Produced by staff at the Institute's Library since 1984, the Australian Family & Society Abstracts database:

  • records the research, policy and practice literature about Australian families and the social issues that affect them
  • draws upon a wide range of social science disciplines, including sociology, psychology, demography, health, education, economics, law, history and social work
  • contains abstracts for journal articles, conference papers, books, book chapters, government reports, research reports, discussion and working papers, unpublished papers, statistical documents, theses and grey literature.

Subscribe through Informit Online or view as a subset of the AIFS library catalogue.

Family Thesaurus

The Family Thesaurus provides a list of the subject terms developed for indexing and retrieving information in the Australian Family & Society Abstracts database. Terms included in the thesaurus reflect the database's multidisciplinary approach to factors affecting life in Australian society and are drawn directly from the literature being indexed.

Interlibrary loans and document delivery

Other libraries are welcome to contact us about inter-library loans and copies. We follow the Australian Interlibrary Resource Sharing (ILRS) Code.


Phone (03) 9214 7888 and ask to be put through to the library or email [email protected] and direct your enquiry to the library.