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Liberal, conservative activists different/unserveyed

The startling headline says, Activists on the left, right share faith but little else, and although the attendant story says just that, it’s wrong.

Just, wrong.

A study sponsored by the Republican-oriented Bliss Institute of Applied Politics involved two, separate, different surveys. the results of which were conflated to produce an outcome which is essentially meaningless.

Here is their description of what they call “Study Design:”

The
 design 
of
 the
 study
 proceeded
 in
 three 
steps. 
First,
 the
 authors 
consulted
 with
 scholars, 
journalists,
 and
 leaders
 of
 religious 
organizations
 to
 determine
 the
 organizations 
that 
were
 central
 to
 contemporary
 religious
 activism.
 The 
study 
sought
 to
 identify
 organizations 
that
 were 
national 
in
 scope, 
had
 relatively 
prominent
 public
 profiles, 
and
 had
 large,
 clean
 lists
 of 
their 
members/affiliates.
 This 
consultation 
revealed
 that 
it
 made
 most 
sense
 to 
conduct
 two 
separate
 surveys:
 one
 survey 
of
 progressive
 religious
 activists
 and
 another 
of
 conservative
 religious 
activists. 
This 
division
 also 
made
 sense 
for
 substantive
 reasons
 because 
somewhat 
different
 questions
 were
 relevant
 to
 progressive 
and 
conservative
 religious 
activists.
 More
 importantly, 
the
 consultation
 produced
 considerable
 agreement 
about 
the
 major 
organizations 
that 
fit
 these 
criteria
 and
 constitute
 the
 rival 
religious 
activist 
corps.

Their “study” may have revealed a little about the views of people who are members of the organizations identified by someone as “central to contemporary religious activism.”

But Christian activists in general were neither identified nor surveyed. Two sets of organizations were informally labeled and their membership surveyed, using two different sets of survey questions — a study design which would not pass muster in an undergraduate political science class.

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October 2, 2009 - Posted by | Churches, Politics, Religion |

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