Presbyterian Panel Survey, 2012-2014 - Background Variables, Members and Elders

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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. New samples are drawn every three years. The main goal of this study is to gather broad information about Presbyterians in terms of their faith (belief, church background and levels of church involvement) and their social, economic and demographic characteristics (age, sex, marital status, living arrangements, etc.). Collected at the start of each new panel, the background variables provide information on the background, education, family, income and giving, and other information for participants in the 2012-2014 panel.

Data File
Cases: 2,476
Variables: 96
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: October-November 2011
Original Survey (Instrument)
Presbyterian Panel Website
Funded By
Congregational Ministries Division, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Collection Procedures
Note: The description of collection procedures below is quoted from the Technical Appendix of the codebook.

In the initial mailing on September 10, 2011, each sampled individual was sent an envelope with a letter from Cynthia Bolbach, Moderator of the 219th General Assembly, on the moderator’s letterhead with a pre-printed signature in blue ink, encouraging the individual to participate in the Panel when the subsequent mailing and survey arrived. On September 22, the initial packet was sent out containing the following materials: a personally addressed cover letter from Perry Chang, Panel Administrator; the tri-fold Panel brochure in the Q&A format; an eight-page, booklet-format questionnaire (8˝? by 7? pages); and a postage-paid, business-reply envelope. The overall design of the survey and the mailings followed the “Tailored Design Method” (Dillman, Smyth, and Christian 2009). Dillman’s method makes the survey response process as simple and straightforward as possible to try to ensure that large percentages of those surveyed will respond, and is based on extensive research indicating which materials work best. The cover letter also gave individuals a website address that those with computer access could visit to complete the survey on the web.

All individuals who had not yet responded were mailed a reminder postcard on October 10, 2011. A second reminder, including a cover letter, replacement copy of the questionnaire, Q&A brochure, and postage-paid reply envelope, was sent on October 27, 2011, to all sampled individuals who had not yet responded. A third reminder, with a cover letter, replacement copy of the questionnaire, and postage-paid reply envelope, was sent on November 28, 2011, to all remaining non-respondents.
Sampling Procedures
Note: The description of sampling procedures below is quoted from the Technical Appendix of the codebook.

Lacking exhaustive, national lists of all active members of PC(USA) congregations, we implemented a two-stage sampling process for members and ruling elders. For members, we used proportional, stratified sampling to draw a sample of 502 congregations from 10,536 congregations across the country. Congregational strata were based on region, race ethnicity, and membership size. Each sampled congregation was then asked to draw ten member names, using a random process.

A similar procedure was followed to sample ruling elders. First, the number of ruling elders was imputed for each congregation that had not reported a number for 2010, based on the number of ruling elders reported most recently (no earlier than 2005). Then, using proportional, stratified sampling, we drew a sample of 500 congregations from the national total of 10,536, based on region, race ethnicity, and session size (that is, the number of ruling elders currently serving on session). Each sampled congregation was then asked to draw ten ruling elder names, using a random process.
Principal Investigators
Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and John Marcum, Coordinator

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