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Subject Recruitment

Surveys were circulated to a number of clergy, religious, and other intellectual leaders as well as lay people from most major religious groups and people who consider them selves to be non-religious.

In phase one we recruited local respondents associated with the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, California. We asked respondents for leads to other possibly interested parties. In phase two we sent out a mass email using the SurveyMonkey tool on the web, leading to world-wide participation. Email surveys were sent to various pastors, asking them to forward it on to members of their congregation. Many emails were sent out by both the research assistant and Ted Peters to various religious leaders around the globe, lay and non-religious persons, asking them to forward the email on to their colleagues and associates. A web accelerator factor then kicked in, as the survey was spread by independent blogs, such as the Wired blog.

The research assistant, Julie Froehlig, made the paper surveys available at GTU seminary dining halls (Pacific School of Religion and Church of the Divinity School of the Pacific) for a total of four meals, offering chocolate and alien suckers as an incentive. She also attended a function at Franciscan School of Theology. Twelve surveys were given to one of the members of a Jesuit House, who was able to get five members of his order to participate. In addition, surveys were made available at a local Lutheran Church coffee hour and in a graduate level course taught by Ted Peters at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. 154 paper surveys were obtained in this way, typically using the candy incentive accompanied by humor to recruit participants.

The research assistant tabulated 154 of the paper surveys and 1171 of the email surveys. We worked with the assumption that a return of more than 35 respondents would be required to establish data sufficiently reliable to support interpretation. When the survey period ended, two groups failed to meet this minimum: Muslims and Hindus. Eight religious categories plus the non-religious category remained sufficiently viable to support further interpretation.

Figure 1

       

Self-identified Group

Email Response Count

Paper Surveys

Total Respondents

       

Roman Catholic

111

9

120

Protestants: evangelical

239

6

245

Protestants: mainline

320

113

433

Other

79

10

89

Orthodox Christian

50

0

50

Mormon

38

1

39

       

Hindu

14

0

14

Jewish

40

6

46

Muslim

14

0

14

Buddhist

70

0

70

Non-religious

196

9

205

       

Totals

1171

154

1325

 Printer-friendly | Contributed by: Ted Peters

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