National Congregations Study, Panel Dataset (1998 and 2006-2007)

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > General Population > National > National Congregations Study > Summary


The National Congregations Study (NCS) dataset "fills a void in the sociological study of congregations by providing, for the first time, data that can be used to draw a nationally aggregate picture of congregations" (Chaves et al. 1999, p.460). Thanks to innovations in sampling techniques, the NCS data is the first nationally representative sample of American congregations. In 2006-07, a panel component was added to the NCS. In addition to the new cross-section of congregations generated in conjunction with the 2006 General Social Survey (GSS), a stratified random sample was drawn from congregations who participated in the 1998 NCS. A full codebook, prepared by the primary investigator, is available for download here. The codebook contains the original questionnaire, as well as detailed information on survey methodology, weights, coding, and more.

Variable names have been shortened to allow for downloading of the data set as an SPSS portable file. Original variable names are shown in parentheses at the beginning of each variable description.

The NCS Cumulative Dataset is also available from the ARDA.

Data File
Cases: 262
Variables: 742
Weight Variable: W7, W8
The panel dataset contains only two weighting variables. Analysts will weight the data by W7 when examining the data from the average congregation‘s perspective and by W8 when examining the data from the average attendee‘s perspective. These are analogous to W2 and W3, respectively, in the cumulative cross-sectional dataset.
Data Collection
Date Collected: 1998, 2006-2007
Funded By
The National Congregations Study (NCS) was made possible by major grants from The Lilly Endowment, Inc. The 1998 NCS also was supported by grants from Smith Richardson Foundation, Inc., the Louisville Institute, the Nonprofit Sector Research Fund of The Aspen Institute, and Henry Luce Foundation, Inc. The 2006-07 NCS also was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, and the Louisville Institute.
Collection Procedures
The NCS data were collected by the same interviewers who collected data from GSS respondents. The GSS is a face-to-face interview conducted by experienced and well-trained interviewers; in both 1998 and 2006, interviewers were instructed to glean from respondents as much locational information about their congregations as possible.
Sampling Procedures
The NCS was conducted in conjunction with the General Social Survey (GSS)--an in-person interview with a representative sample of noninstitutionalized English- or Spanish-speaking adults in the United States, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. In 1998 and 2006, the GSS asked respondents who said they attend religious services at least once a year to report the name and location of their religious congregation. The congregations named by these respondents constitute the 1998 and 2006-07 NCS congregational samples. In 2006-07, a panel component was added to the NCS. In addition to the new cross-section of congregations generated in conjunction with the 2006 GSS, a stratified random sample was drawn from congregations who participated in the 1998 NCS.
Principal Investigators
Mark Chaves
Related Publications
Chaves, Mark, Mary Ellen Konieczny, Kraig Beyerlein, and Emily Barman. 1999. "The National Congregations Study: Background, Methods, and Selected Results." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 38(4): 458-476.

Chaves, Mark. 2004. Congregations in America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Chaves, Mark and Shawna L. Anderson. 2008. "Continuity and Change in American Congregations: Introducing the Second Wave of the National Congregations Study." Sociology of Religion 69:415-440.
Citation
Manuscripts using this data file or codebook should contain the following citation:

Chaves, Mark and Shawna Anderson. 2008. National Congregations Study. Cumulative data file and codebook. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University, Department of Sociology.