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ISSP2008: Religion III

Version 5 2017-03-12, 22:47
Version 4 2016-08-16, 06:16
Version 3 2016-04-13, 00:02
Version 2 2016-01-06, 03:24
Version 1 2015-06-19, 03:36
posted on 2017-03-12, 22:47 authored by Philip Gendall

The eighteenth of 20 years of International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) surveys in New Zealand by Professor Philip Gendall, Department of Marketing, Massey University.

A verbose rundown on topics covered follows.

Content: attitudes towards religious practices. Assessment of personal happiness; attitudes towards pre-marital sexual intercourse; attitudes towards committed adultery; attitudes towards homosexual relationships between adults; attitudes towards abortion in case of serious disability or illness of the baby or low income of the family; attitudes towards gender roles in marriage.

Trust in institutions (parliament, business and industry, churches and religious organisations, courts and the legal system, schools and the educational system); mobility; attitudes towards the influence of religious leaders on voters and government; attitudes towards the benefits of science and religion (scale: modern science does more harm than good, too much trust in science and not enough in religious faith, religions bring more conflicts than peace, intolerance of people with very strong religious beliefs).

Judgement on the power of churches and religious organisations; attitudes towards equal rights for all religious groups in the country and respect for all religions; acceptance of persons from a different religion or with different religious views in case of marrying a relative or being a candidate of the preferred political party (social distance); attitudes towards the allowance for religious extremists to hold public meetings and to publish books expressing their views (freedom of expression).

Doubt or firm belief in God (deism, scale); belief in: a life after death, heaven, hell, religious miracles, reincarnation, Nirvana, supernatural powers of deceased ancestors; attitudes towards a higher truth and towards meaning of life (scale: God is concerned with every human being personally, little that people can do to change the course of their lives (fatalism), life is meaningful only because God exists, life does not serve any purpose, life is only meaningful if someone provides the meaning himself, connection with God without churches or religious services).

Religious preference (affiliation) of mother, father and spouse/ partner; religion respondent was raised in; frequency of church attendance (of attendance in religious services) of father and mother; personal frequency of church attendance when young; frequency of prayers and participation in religious activities; shrine, altar or a religious object in respondent’s home; frequency of visiting a holy place (shrine, temple, church or mosque) for religious reasons except regular religious services; self-classification of personal religiousness and spirituality; truth in one or in all religions; attitudes towards the profits of practicing a religion (scale: finding inner peace and happiness, making friends, gaining comfort in times of trouble and sorrow, meeting the right kind of people).

Optional items (not stated in all countries): questions in countries with an appreciable number of Evangelical Protestants): ‘born-again’ Christian; attitudes towards the Bible (or appropriate holy book); questions generally applicable for all countries: conversion of faith after crucial experience; personal sacrifice as an expression of faith such as fasting or following a special diet during holy season such as Lent or Ramadan; concept of God (semantic differential scale: mother – father, master – spouse, judge – lover, friend – king); belief in lucky charms, fortune tellers, faith healers and horoscopes; social rules or God’s laws as basis for deciding between right and wrong; attitudes towards members of different religious groups (Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Atheists or non-believers.

Demography: sex; age; marital status; steady life partner; years of schooling; highest education level; country specific education and degree; current employment status (respondent and partner); hours worked weekly; occupation (ISCO 1988) (respondent and partner); supervising function at work; working for private or public sector or self-employed (respondent and partner); if self-employed: number of employees; trade union membership; earnings of respondent (country specific); family income (country specific); size of household; household composition; party affiliation (left-right); country specific party affiliation; participation in last election; religious denomination; religious main groups; attendance of religious services; self-placement on a top-bottom scale; region (country specific); size of community (country specific); type of community: urban-rural area; country of origin or ethnic group affiliation.


Department of Marketing, Massey University.



The sample was randomly selected from the 2008 New Zealand Electoral Rolls, with stratification by age: under 35, 35–54, 55 and over - 680 were sampled in each of these groups. The achieved sample is generally representative of the New Zealand population 18 years and over, but people under 30 are underrepresented in the sample, while those over 30 are overrepresented.

Data Collector

Department of Marketing, Massey University.

Mode of Collection

Mail survey: the questionnaire together with a covering letter was sent to the 2,040 selected participants on 26 August 2008. A reminder letter was mailed to those that had not yet responded on 11 September, and a second reminder, along with a second copy of the questionnaire, was sent out on 11 October. The survey was closed on 30 November, 14 weeks after the initial mailing.

Series Information

The ISSP is a continuing annual programme of cross-national collaboration on surveys covering topics important for social science research. It brings together pre-existing social science projects and coordinates research goals, thereby adding a cross-national, cross-cultural perspective to the individual national studies. ISSP researchers especially concentrate on developing questions that are meaningful and relevant to all countries, and can be expressed in an equivalent manner in all relevant languages.

Publisher (e.g. University of Auckland)

Massey University

Contact email

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