The Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) received a major three-year grant from the John M. Templeton Foundation to conduct a nationally representative multi-year study of religious values, practices, and behaviors, with a specific focus on consumption of religious goods and services. Using a host of new survey items that improve upon previous work, the study will yield new data to more systematically explore and better understand what sometimes appears to be an ambiguous relationship between trust, civic engagement, and religion. In partnering with the Gallup Organization, we believe this cutting-edge study has the potential to generate data that may well cause scholars to rethink our currently used measures of religious commitment or devoutness, as well as various theories linking the influence of religion to civic engagement, spiritual capital, and many other important social and behavioral outcomes.
- Data File
- Cases: 1,714
Weight Variable: WEIGHT
- Data Collection
- Date Collected: 2010
- Original Survey (Instrument)
- The Values and Beliefs of the American Public – A National Study
- Funded By
- The John Templeton Foundation
- Collection Procedures
- The self-administered survey consisted of a 16-page booklet including a cover page entitled, “The Values and Beliefs of the American Public – A National Study.” A total of 2,556 questionnaires, including a cover letter explaining the study’s objectives along with a number to call if they had any questions or comments, were mailed to the adults who agreed to participate in the study. Gallup then followed up to these households with a letter thanking them for agreeing to participate and asking for their cooperation. A follow-up reminder postcard was sent to all those who agreed to participate. A second complete mailing also was utilized for the national RDD and database sampling frame to those who did not respond to the initial mailing.
Of the 704 respondents to the telephone survey, 512 completed and returned the questionnaire. Of the 1,852 RDD database respondents, 1,202 respondents completed and returned the questionnaire. Gallup closed the check-in of mailed questionnaires on Nov. 30, 2010.
For results based on the final sample of 1,714, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects could be plus or minus four percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias in the findings of opinion polls.
- Sampling Procedures
- Gallup used a mixed-mode sampling design (telephone and self-administered mailed surveys) for Wave I (2005), Wave II (2007), and Wave III (2010) of this study. First, Gallup completed 1,000 telephone interviews with a national sample of the general population of adults, 18 years of age and older. The sample used was a random digit telephone sample drawn from telephone exchanges serving the continental United States. In order to avoid various sources of bias, a random digit procedure designed to provide representation of both listed and unlisted (including not-yet-listed) numbers was used. The design of the sample ensures this representation by random generation of the last two digits of telephone numbers selected on the basis of their area code, telephone exchange and bank order.
This selection procedure produces a sample that is superior to random selection from a frame of listed telephone households, and the superiority is greater to the degree that the assignment of telephone numbers to households is made independently of their publication status in the directory. Random number selection within banks ensures that all numbers within a particular bank (whether listed or unlisted) have the same likelihood of inclusion in the sample, and that the sample so generated will represent all residential (non-institutional) telephone households in the appropriate proportions.
At each household randomly selected, a Gallup interviewer attempted to conduct an interview with a selected person in the household (adult, age 18 and over who had the most recent birthday). A three-call design was used for this survey (one initial call plus two additional call-backs).
Selected questions from the self-administered survey including frequency of church attendance were included in the telephone survey.
At the conclusion of the telephone survey, respondents were told that Gallup was conducting an important study on American values and beliefs and asked if they would be willing to participate in this study. In appreciation of their participation, potential respondents to the mail survey were offered a $5 incentive to complete the self-administered questionnaire and return it to Gallup. If a respondent agreed, they were asked their mailing address. Of the 1,000 respondents in the telephone survey, 744 agreed to participate, though not all agreed to give the interviewer their address. In total, 704 of the 744 who initially agreed to participate also agreed to disclosing their address for mailing purposes. Mailed surveys were sent out daily following the previous night’s recruitment interview.
In addition to the RDD phase, Gallup also mailed 1,852 questionnaires to Gallup’s national RDD database (households who have been pre-selected in a random-digit dialing sample design). The recruitment phase was conducted during the period of Sept. 15-Oct. 4, 2010.
- Principal Investigators
- Kevin D. Dougherty
Andrew L. Whitehead
Jerry Z. Park
Mitchell J. Neubert
- Citing the Data
- When citing this study, the following information should be included:
Baylor University. 2010. The Baylor Religion Survey, Wave III. Waco, TX: Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion [producer].