Australia-Indonesia Attitudes & Understanding Research: Qualitative research of contemporary attitudes and interventions

The ‘Australia-Indonesia Attitudes & Understanding Research: Qualitative research of contemporary attitudes and interventions’ study was conducted by Monash researchers Dr RoseAnne Misajon, Dr Howard Manns, Dr Ana-Maria Bliuc, and Muhammad Iqbal.

In the first part of the study, the researchers adapted a text analysis tool to examine differences between Australian and Indonesian newspapers in how the outlets reported events relevant to both nations.

In the second part, the researchers conducted a series of focus groups in both nations to collect qualitative data in order to establish a baseline understanding of the Australian-Indonesian relationship.

Dr Misajon, Dr Manns and Mr Iqbal presented findings at the Australia-Indonesia Attitudes Seminar in May 2016, and delivered the final report in August 2016.

Executive Summary

This project explores Indonesians’ and Australians’ respective attitudes toward one another adopting a multi-method, structured two-part approach. A key goal of the project was to form a framework and baseline for ongoing empirical research.

The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Australia-Indonesia Centre in preparing this report.

Key Outcomes:
Part 1 involved the application of the Linguistics Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) software for analysing Australian-Indonesian relations. Most significantly in terms of sustainability, this entailed the translation, adaption and validation of the Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) software for use in the Indonesian language and consequently a tool for understanding the Indonesian context. To trial the use of LIWC, we selected two media outlets from Indonesia and two from Australia. We undertook textual data scraping of the media content from these online resources immediate prior, during and after dates coinciding to key events of interest to both Australia and Indonesia. However, in summary, with the translation and validation of the LIWC software for use in analysing Indonesian text, we have provided a unique tool that can now be used for a wide range of research questions, including (but not limited) to ongoing examination of online media content.

The goal of Part 2 was to establish some form of baseline qualitative data regarding attitudes in the two countries by determining themes relevant to the Australia-Indonesia relationship. Qualitative data was collected via focus groups conducted in Australia and Indonesia, followed by thematic analysis of the data obtained. The themes arising from the focus groups were then examined in relation to the initial findings from LIWC, but also from the historical study conducted by Monash in parallel to this study.

Key recommendations for a research roadmap include:

  • Empirical data examining not only attitudes to Australians/Indonesians, but also perceived levels of trust, respect, knowledge/understanding across the two cultures.  Factors that may impact on these attitudes should be explored, including external (e.g. media), sociodemographic (e.g. age, travel, individual contact, education) as well as psychosocial factors (e.g. social / national identity, perceived intergroup differences)
  • The role of the media and social media should be further analysed (using tools such as LIWC), and that LIWC Indonesian dictionary could be further developed to analyse social media and other online texts.

Australia-Indonesia Attitudes Seminar

Dr RoseAnne Misajon, Dr Howard Manns, and Muhammad Iqbal presented their research at the Australia-Indonesia Attitudes Seminar, which took place at Monash University, Caulfield, May 2016. View their presentation below.