Questionnaire design, sampling strategy and preliminary findings: the Burdekin region

Farr, Marina, Eagle, Lynne, Hay, Rachel, and Churchill, Meryl (2017) Questionnaire design, sampling strategy and preliminary findings: the Burdekin region. Report. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre,

PDF (PB 6.8.19) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (3MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website:


This report focuses firstly on the survey instrument development and the sampling design for this project. It then provides a preliminary analysis of the initial data collected from land managers in the Burdekin region, mainly in the form of descriptive statistics. It also provides provisional recommendations for key stakeholders regarding possible actions that should be considered in future interactions with land managers.

Two questionnaires were developed – one for cane growers and one for graziers. When developing questionnaires, we sought to keep questions similar in each questionnaire wherever possible, to enable comparisons between both groups (e.g. socio-demographics, attitudes and motivations) and between the case study areas (e.g. cane growers in Wet Tropics and cane growers in Burdekin). As such, two questionnaires have been developed with identical questions on the first three pages. The remaining questions were similar but relevant to particular behaviours for the grazing and sugar cane industries. The final versions of the questionnaire are included as Appendices 4 and 5.

The sample population in the preliminary analysis was obtained from a membership database of cane and cattle producers supplied by NQ Dry Tropics. Each respondent was allocated a unique identifier which enable the researchers to de-identify the data. This identifier will also allow the researchers to track changes in future responses across the three years and to analyse those changes.

The preliminary analysis captures only people in the Burdekin region who were already engaged in programs including those that related to water quality improvement as well as other programs in the Burdekin region.

Insights from the preliminary analysis of data collected in round one show that the respondents:

• Have a mature profile - the median age of cane growers and graziers is 52 years which is significantly greater than the median age of the Australian population (37 years).

• Own or own & manage (80% of cane growers and 84% of graziers) their property.

• Have lengthy land management experience - (average of 18.9 years for graziers and 20.9 years for cane growers), often following earlier generations on properties: maintaining traditions and heritage is important (over 50% of respondents indicated this to be of the highest importance).

• Do not make decisions in isolation – family / extended family are commonly involved.

• Are positive about overall quality of life (>90%).

• Have no significant plans to change future practices (>90%).

• Do not believe their farming practice adversely impacts water quality in local streams, rivers, and waterways (61% of cane growers and 30% of graziers).

• Do not believe that the cane/grazing industry plays a significant role in the declining health of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) (66% of cane growers and 39% of graziers).

• Tend to shift the blame related to water quality and the health of the Great Barrier Reef to other industries, organisations and individuals.

The findings indicate that there is a need to ‘sell the science’ to gain acceptance of the cause-effect relationship between farming practice and water quality.

There is potential to extend the key role of extension officers in potentially influencing increased uptake of best management practices. The main ways in which they can be supported in their interactions with land managers include:

• Supporting innovators (‘positive deviants’).

• Ensuring that land mangers see their expertise is valued and their voices are heard.

• Facilitating sharing of ideas and practices.

• Building on the role of farmers whose views are respected as potential information gatekeepers/disseminators/role models.

• Ensuring that all persuasive communications are integrated in terms of key messages.

• Developing strategies for minimising the impact of competing and conflicting messages.

• Incorporating social media strategies as part of an integrated communication strategy that centres on the information channels and platforms used and preferred by land managers.

• Incorporate long-term relationship management strategies based on customer relationship management and business to business marketing concepts.

• Utilise Social Network Analysis to identify:

(a) key information gatekeepers / opinion leaders who may help or hinder information dissemination and innovation uptake, and

(b) where individual extension officers may fit into various networks.

• Consider the use of farmer typologies in developing resources to aid extension officers in their interactions with land managers.

Note: The survey was delivered in both the Dry Tropics and the Wet Tropics region of Queensland, therefore, the survey development and sampling strategy (Section 2) and recommendations (Section 4) of this report include common content with Section 2 and 4 of the Interim report - Questionnaire Design, Sampling Strategy and Preliminary Findings (The Wet Tropics) (Farr et al., 2017b).

Item ID: 58375
Item Type: Report (Report)
Keywords: Water Quality, survey design, sampling strategy, Great Barrier Reef, Burdekin
Related URLs:
Copyright Information: © James Cook University, 2017 Creative Commons Attribution Questionnaire Design, Sampling Strategy and Preliminary Findings: The Wet Tropics region is licensed by the James Cook University for use under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Australia licence. For licence conditions see:
Additional Information:

NESP Project 2.1.3 Interim report 3

Funders: National Environmental Science Programme (NESP)
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2019 03:46
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1505 Marketing > 150502 Marketing Communications @ 50%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1505 Marketing > 150506 Marketing Theory @ 50%
SEO Codes: 82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8203 Industrial Crops > 820304 Sugar @ 10%
83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle @ 10%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960608 Rural Water Evaluation (incl. Water Quality) @ 80%
Downloads: Total: 104
Last 12 Months: 8
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page