Presbyterian Panel Survey, February 2012 - Current Issues in Church and Society, Members and Elders

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, ruling elders currently on session, and teaching elders (pastors, serving congregations, and specialized ministers, 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.). The February 2012 survey focuses on Current Issues in Church and Society. This dataset contains data from sampled members and elders.

Data File
Cases: 1,505
Variables: 167
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: February - April 2012
Original Survey (Instrument)
Current Issues in Church and Society: The February 2012 Survey
Funded By
The office of the Deputy Executive Director for Mission of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Collection Procedures
Note: The description of collection procedures below is quoted from the February 2012 Presbyterian Panel Report.

The current survey is the second completed by the 2012-2014 Panel, sampled in the summer of 2011. The survey was initially distributed in early February 2012 to 1,027 members, 1,415 ruling elders, and 1,514 teaching elders. Most of these panelists (844 members, 1,009 ruling elders, and 882 teaching elders) were sent a printed questionnaire via U.S. mail on February 3. The rest (183 members, 406 ruling elders, and 632 teaching elders) were sent an email invitation that contained a link to a web version of the survey; these latter panelists had signed up for email notification at the time they completed the initial survey in the fall of 2011. (All panelists were able to access and complete the survey online whether they were initially contacted by mail or email.)

Panelists who received email invitations and had not yet responded were sent email reminders on February 14 and March 13. All non-respondents, including those initially sent the email invitation and first email reminder, were sent a postcard reminder on February 23. Returns were accepted through April 30, 2012. Cover letters, email invitations, and reminders came from Perry Chang, administrator of the Panel at the time of the survey. Response rates for this survey are: members, 58 percent; ruling elders, 66 percent; teaching elders, 71 percent. The percentages of respondents who completed the survey online are: members, 30 percent; ruling elders, 44 percent; pastors, 59 percent; and specialized ministers, 54 percent.
Sampling Procedures
Note: The description of sampling procedures below is quoted from the Appendix B: Technical Notes Establishment of the 2012-2014 Presbyterian Panel.

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
Related Publications
Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Current Issues in Church and Society: The Report of the February 2012 Presbyterian Panel Survey. Louisville, KY, 2016.

Bookmark and Share