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Religious Understandings of Science




Ecklund, E. H. (2023, March 16). Religious Understandings of Science.


The Religious Understandings of Science survey was administered to a nationally representative sample of the United States population. The goals of this project were to further explore how the general United States population perceives religion and science. Survey items probe the morality, religiosity, spirituality, and religious beliefs of respondents, as well as their attitudes toward science. This survey is part of a larger research project to more completely elucidate the complex relationships between science, scientists, and religion.

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The ARDA has added six additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 10241
Variables: 256
Weight Variable: WEIGHT1, WEIGHT2, WEIGHT3

Weights were developed for the study, building off the selection probability for this sample, panel demographic post-stratification weight, and a Spanish-language weight, a study-specific post-stratification weight is calculated.

The general population weights, WEIGHT1, were then used to derive benchmarks for those who were or were not employed in science occupations. Next, total qualified cases from general population and science occupation oversample (XSCIENCE = 1 or 2; n = 10,241) were weighted to look like the benchmarks generated in the previous step by controlling the demographics within those who were or were not employed in science occupations. Respondents employed in science occupations were down weighted in this step. Following a similar procedure to that described for WEIGHT1, the weights were trimmed separately by group and scaled to sum to the sample size of total qualified respondents (WEIGHT2; n = 10,241) and by those who were or were not employed in science occupations (WEIGHT3; n = 10,241).

WEIGHT1: Post-stratification weight for general population sample only (XSCIENCE = 1).
WEIGHT2: Post-stratification weight for total qualified respondents (XSCIENCE = 1 or 2)
WEIGHT3: Post-stratification weight for total qualified respondents with sample sizes scaled to match the unweighted science and non-science occupation sizes (based on response to SCIOCCUP; XSCIENCE = 1 or 2).

Data Collection


Original Survey (Instrument)

Religious Understandings of Science Codebook

Funded By

John Templeton Foundation

Collection Procedures

The Religious Understandings of Science survey was administered by GfK Knowledge Networks on behalf of Rice University using the Knowledge Panel, GfK's probability-based web panel designed to be representative of the United States population. Those selected for participation completed an online survey instrument.

Sampling Procedures

GfK's web panel is recruited as national random samples through Random Digit Dialing (telephone) sampling or current address-based sampling, with additional recruitment in Spanish for U.S. Hispanics. Households are provided with internet access and a netbook computer if needed.

Following pretest and pilot surveys, GfK selected 16,746 panel members, with the goal of 10,000 completed surveys, 95% from the general population and a 5% oversample of those employed in science occupations. The final sample size was 10,241 with a completion rate of 62.7%.

Principal Investigators

Elaine Howard Ecklund, Rice University

Related Publications

Ecklund, Elaine Howard and Christopher P. Scheitle. 2017. Religion vs. Science: What Religious People Really Think. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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