AAP Survey

  1. Some respondents expressed a desire for more inclusive representation of the diversity of philosophy in Australia in the AAP conference and the AJP.
  1. Some respondents perceive the need for the AAP to be more directly involved with Government (especially the ERA process).
  1. Some respondents requested that the AAP improve its methods of communicating with Australasian philosophers.

Short Summary Report of the Australasian Association of Philosophy Council Subcommittee to enquire into the relations between the AAP and sub-disciplines within Philosophy in the Australasian Region.

The Subcommittee

The Survey

Conclusions and Recommendations Drawn from Survey Results

Survey Monkey Results 280 KB

The Subcommittee

At the AAP Council Meeting, held on Monday 7th February 2011 in Melbourne, the Council determined to form a subcommittee to enquire into the relations between the AAP and the various sub-disciplines within philosophy in the Australasian region. The subcommittee members include Moira Gatens (Chair), Fiona Jenkins, and Sor-hoon Tan. Jack Reynolds (La Trobe) and David Simpson (Wollongong) accepted an invitation to join the subcommittee. The subcommittee developed an online survey to ascertain the attitudes of full-time philosophers in the Australasian region towards the AAP and its activities. The AAP Council was actively involved in the process of refining the survey questions. Samuel Baron (University of Sydney) was engaged as a research assistant to assist with the design, analysis, and report of the survey data.


The Survey

The online survey consisted of 15 multiple-choice questions and one question calling for written feedback. Of the 15 multiple-choice questions, 4 invited written comment. The survey was conducted between the 8th and the 22nd April 2011. The survey was emailed to all full-time philosophy staff in Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. The survey was voluntary and took approximately 5 minutes to complete. The survey attracted 119 respondents, which is approximately 40% of the total number of full-time philosophy staff to whom the survey was sent. The survey was conducted using online third party software available from the website Survey Monkey.  (http://www.surveymonkey.com/). In terms of security, the Survey Monkey website is PCI-DSS compliant. Their data centre is located in a SAS70 Type II certified facility. The results of the survey are made available in this report in aggregated form only (the Survey Monkey aggregated results are available in a separate document). Once the report was complete the raw data was destroyed and the subscription to Survey Monkey discontinued.

Conclusions and Recommendations Drawn from Survey Results

Any conclusions drawn from the AAP&SD survey must bear in mind that we achieved only a 40% response rate from the full time philosophers in Australasia to whom the survey was sent. (A significant 20.2% of the responses were from philosophers located in New Zealand.) The views and preferences of this group, however, offer interesting insights into how the AAP is viewed, attitudes towards the AJP, and useful suggestions concerning how relations between the AAP and the various sub-disciplines within philosophy might be improved.

Analysis of the survey shows that 43% of our respondents are in the 40 - 49 age band, 63% hold appointments at levels B or C, 59% identify as “Analytic” in their philosophical orientation, and 67% are male.

90% of our respondents believe that Australasian philosophers need a professional body to represent their interests. 47% judged the AAP to be “successful” or “very successful” and 40% judged the AAP to be “somewhat successful” in serving the interests all Australasian philosophers. 13% of respondents thought that the AAP was “not very successful” in serving the interests of all philosophers in Australasia. 86% of respondents have presented, or plan to present, a paper to the AAP conference. 42% of respondents said that they “seldom” or “never” read the AJP and less than half of the respondents said that they would submit a paper to the AJP. When the sex of the respondent was compared with willingness to submit a research paper to the AJP the results show that whereas 56% of males responded ‘yes’ only 28% of females said ‘yes’ to this question.

There were a number of negative written comments about the relationship between the AAP and the AAPNZ.

Written responses to the survey questions provided useful information about some major concerns of the respondents. These concerns can be summarized as follows:

In light of the survey results the sub-committee makes the following recommendations:

Recommendation One - Council

The subcommittee recommends that the AAP Council continue to seek to fill the positions of AAP Council office bearers from across the spectrum of philosophical orientations in Australasia. This may involve considering an increase in the size of Council. AAP Council should also consider ways of fostering closer ties and opening channels of communication with other philosophy associations in Australasia.

Recommendation Two – Additional Journal?

The subcommittee recommends that the AAP consider the possibility and viability of inaugurating an additional Australasian philosophy journal to broaden the range of research that is published under its auspices.

Recommendation Three – Relations with New Zealand

The subcommittee recommends that policies regarding the relationship between the AAPNZ and the AAP be reviewed by a working party that would include appropriate representation from New Zealand philosophers.

Recommendation Four – Communication with Members

The subcommittee recommends that AAP Council request that all Philosophy Departments in Australasia place a prominent link to the AAP website on their homepages to encourage awareness of the AAP, promote knowledge about the advantages of membership, its various activities, and the services it offers. The AAP should foster additional processes for reporting back on its activities and develop mechanisms for seeking and responding to feedback from individual members of the philosophical community.

Recommendation Five – AAP Conference

The subcommittee recommends that AAP Council actively encourage the organizers of the AAP annual conference to be mindful of the diversity of philosophy in Australasia in the selection of the keynote speakers, in the call for papers for the conference, and in the programming and chairing of the various streams of the conference. The subcommittee recommends the formation of a working party to prepare an advisory Dossier for conference organizers that would include advice on how to meet diversity and equity objectives.

Recommendation Six – ERA

The subcommittee recommends that the AAP seek to ensure that responses to the ERA do not result in the profile of the discipline being narrowed. For example, it is important that the AAP support all the sub-disciplinary fields in philosophy in their quest for equity and fairness in the distribution of A and A* journal rankings under the 22 code.

last updated: 01.03.12

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