Dissemination of National Congregations Study

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Mon, 03/01/1999
End Date: 
Fri, 08/31/2001

In 1998, the General Social Survey (GSS), conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, compiled from its national random sampling of individuals a large sample of religious communities. This is an example of the hypernetworking theory, which argues that subsets created within a larger random sample are as random and representative as the original sample. Using the uniquely large database of religious congregations created by the GSS’s research, the National Congregations Study interviewed one key informant from each congregation, usually clergy, on a variety of aspects of congregational life. One thousand twelve hundred thirty-six congregations of various denominations and faiths were represented. <p>A previous Lilly grant funded the aforementioned research; the present grant created the opportunity for further analysis and dissemination. In collaboration with the Alban Institute, Dr. Mark Chaves and his team at the University of Arizona produced a variety of resources for congregations and their leaders, scholars, civic leaders, and the public that helped enhance understanding of religious communities and their workings. Some of these resources included a booklet whose intended audience was clergy, multiple articles in popular and scholarly publications, and a website for the release of raw data.