Presbyterian Panel Survey, May 2006 - Issues in the PC(USA), Members

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > Religious Groups > Members or Leaders > Presbyterian > Summary


The Presbyterian Panel began in 1973 and is an ongoing panel study in which mailed and web-based questionnaires are used to survey representative samples of constituency groups of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). These constituency groups include members, elders, pastors serving in a congregation, and specialized clergy serving elsewhere. The 3,742 member panel consists of 1,099 members, 1,164 elders and 1,469 clergy. Panels are re-sampled every three years. The main goal of this study is to gather broad information about Presbyterians in terms of their faith (beliefs, church background, and levels of church involvement), and their social, economic, and demographic characteristics (age, sex, marital status, living arrangements, etc.). The May 2006 survey focuses on issues in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Data File
Cases: 538
Variables: 214
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: October 2005 (Background questions) and April-July 2006
Funded By
Congregational Ministries Division, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Collection Procedures
Background Data
Data were collected by self-administered mail and web-based surveys. "In the initial mailing on October 21, 2005, each sampled individual was sent a 9”x12” envelope (personally addressed) containing the following materials: a letter encouraging participation from Rick Ufford-Chase, Moderator of the 216th General Assembly, on the moderator’s letterhead with pre-printed signature in blue ink (not personally addressed); a personally-addressed cover letter, with pre-printed signature in blue ink, from John P. Marcum, Panel Administrator; a tri-fold brochure describing the Panel in a question-and-answer format; a questionnaire; and a postage-paid, business-reply envelope. (Overall design of the survey and the mailings followed the “Tailored Design Method”; see Dillman, 2000.)" (Technical Notes: Religious and Demographic Profile of Presbyterians 2005)

"All individuals who had not yet responded were mailed a reminder postcard on November 4, 2005. A second reminder, including cover letter, replacement copy of the questionnaire, Q&A brochure, and postage-paid reply envelope, was sent on November 18, 2005, to all sampled persons who had not yet responded. A third reminder, with cover letter, replacement copy of the questionnaire, Q&A brochure, and postage-paid reply envelope was sent on December 30, 2005, to all remaining non-respondents." (Technical Notes)

May 2006 Data
The current survey is the third completed by the 2006-2008 Panel. Questionnaires were mailed in late April 2006, with returns accepted through July 2006. Most panelists received a copy by U.S. mail, but a subset (n =291, or 8%) who had signed up for the service was notified via email. Non-responders were sent a postcard reminder on May 12, 2006. All panelists could complete the survey on the Web, and among respondents, 13% of members 16% of elders, 24% of pastors, and 22% of specialized clergy did so via the Web. Response rates for this survey are: members, 49%; elders, 61%; ministers, 67%. (Issues in the PC(USA): The May 2006 Survey)

Populations
"The Panel consists of three samples, each drawn from a separate constituency group, or population, of persons affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The PC(USA) consists of congregations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico." (Technical Notes)

Members
"The member sample was drawn from the population of all active members of congregations affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (i.e., persons listed on the active membership rolls of these congregations; see PC(USA) Book of Order, G-5.0202), with the following exclusions: elders currently serving on session and persons unable to complete a mailed survey." (Technical Notes)

"At the end of 2004, the total active membership of the PC(USA) was 2,362,136. Subtracting the 106,4191 active elders, the approximate population for the member sample was 2,255,717." (Technical Notes)
Sampling Procedures
"Three representative samples were drawn, one from each of the three populations, using probability techniques." (Technical Notes)

Members
"Lacking exhaustive, national lists of all active members in PC(USA) congregations, we implemented a two-stage sampling process for members and elders. For members, we used proportional stratified sampling to draw a sample of 500 congregations from the national total of 11,019. Congregational strata were based on region, race ethnicity, and membership size. Each sampled congregation was then asked to draw eight member names, using a random process, as described below." (Technical Notes)
Principal Investigators
Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and John P. Marcum, Panel Administrator
Related Publications
Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Issues in the PC(USA): The May 2006 Survey. Louisville, KY, 2006.