Portraits of American Life Study
Hosted by The ARDA
The PALS seeks to understand the impact of religion in everyday life, and ultimately the connections between religious change and other forms of change among diverse individuals and families over the course of their lives.
Portraits of American Life Study (PALS):

Below are responses to questions submitted regarding the PALS data and the 2010 Student Paper Contest. If you have questions, submit them to pals@rice.edu.

(1) How was the variable ci_reltrad created?

The variable ci_reltrad is a classification of the respondent’s religious tradition based on the method outlined by Brian Steensland, et al, 2000. The variable uses each respondent’s answers to several detailed questions about which religious denomination the respondent identifies with or feels closest to, if any. Based on their responses, persons were classified into one of the eight categories below.

Black Protestant
Evangelical Protestant
Mainline Protestant
Protestant - Other
Other Affiliated

About 4% of persons described their religion as Christian but stated their Christian denomination was “Just Christian” or “Not close to any denomination or tradition” or “Other” with no further description despite prompted clarification. These persons were placed in a category not found in Steensland’s model called “Protestant – Other.”

See the following citation for a description of Steensland’s RELTRAD.

Steensland, Brian, Jerry Z. Park, Mark D. Regnerus, Lynn D. Robinson, W. Bradford Wilcox, and Robert D. Woodberry. 2000. "The Measure of American Religion: Toward Improving the State of the Art." Social Forces, 79 (1): 291-318.

(2) The variable label for NE_9 has “(R affiliated)” in the description. Were the NE_9 series of questions only asked of persons with a religious affiliation?

Questions NE_6 to NE_11 were asked of respondents that had a congregational affiliation where CA_1=1. Similarly, questions NE_28 to NE_31 were asked of respondents where CA_1 was not equal to 1.

(3) Do you have physical impairment variables (or disability such as activity of daily living (ADL) and instrumental ADL (IADL))?

The variables in the Health Module of the public data are the only ones we have that address limits on daily activities. However, in looking at the Health Module variable descriptions in comparison to the questionnaire script, an inconsistency was identified. The variable description for HM_2 should read "Has physical or nervous condition limiting work."

(4) Is there a limit to the number of entries a student may submit?

No, there is no limit to the number of entries a student may submit.

(5) May a graduate student and undergraduate student co-author a paper? If so, which deadline would be appropriate?

It is permissible for a graduate student and undergraduate student to submit a paper. The entry must be submitted with the graduate student paper deadline and be judged with other graduate student paper submissions.

(6) For which attributes does the weight variable PAWT2 correct?

PAWT2 corrects for race, gender, and household size.

(7) Should the abstract be submitted as a separate document from the paper?

The abstract should be submitted in the same document as the paper, but be sure to include the title of the paper with the abstract and exclude the author's name and affiliation from this document.

(8) Are we required to have a faculty advisor/sponsor for the competition?

In lieu of a faculty advisor/sponsor, please provide a signed statement from a representative of the admissions office that you were a student for the Fall 2009 and /or Spring 2010 semester at your university.