Presbyterian Panel Survey, May 2006 - Issues in the PC(USA), Elders

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > Religious Groups > Members or Leaders > Presbyterian > Summary


The Presbyterian Panel began in 1973 and is an ongoing panel study in which mailed and web-based questionnaires are used to survey representative samples of constituency groups of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). These constituency groups include members, elders, pastors serving in a congregation, and specialized clergy serving elsewhere. The 3,742 member panel consists of 1,099 members, 1,164 elders and 1,469 clergy. Panels are re-sampled every three years. The main goal of this study is to gather broad information about Presbyterians in terms of their faith (beliefs, church background, and levels of church involvement), and their social, economic, and demographic characteristics (age, sex, marital status, living arrangements, etc.). The May 2006 survey focuses on issues in the PC(USA).

Data File
Cases: 677
Variables: 214
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: October 2005 (Background questions) and April-July 2006
Funded By
Congregational Ministries Division, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Collection Procedures
Background Data
Data were collected by self-administered mail and web-based surveys. "In the initial mailing on October 21, 2005, each sampled individual was sent a 9”x12” envelope (personally addressed) containing the following materials: a letter encouraging participation from Rick Ufford-Chase, Moderator of the 216th General Assembly, on the moderator’s letterhead with pre-printed signature in blue ink (not personally addressed); a personally-addressed cover letter, with pre-printed signature in blue ink, from John P. Marcum, Panel Administrator; a tri-fold brochure describing the Panel in a question-and-answer format; a questionnaire; and a postage-paid, business-reply envelope. (Overall design of the survey and the mailings followed the “Tailored Design Method”; see Dillman, 2000.)" (Technical Notes: Religious and Demographic Profile of Presbyterians 2005)

"All individuals who had not yet responded were mailed a reminder postcard on November 4, 2005. A second reminder, including cover letter, replacement copy of the questionnaire, Q&A brochure, and postage-paid reply envelope, was sent on November 18, 2005, to all sampled persons who had not yet responded. A third reminder, with cover letter, replacement copy of the questionnaire, Q&A brochure, and postage-paid reply envelope was sent on December 30, 2005, to all remaining non-respondents." (Technical Notes)

The May 2006 Data
Questionnaires were mailed in late April 2006, with returns accepted through July 2006. Most panelists received a copy by U.S. mail, but a subset (n =291, or 8%) who had signed up for the service was notified via email. Non-responders were sent a postcard reminder on May 12, 2006. All panelists could complete the survey on the Web, and among respondents, 13% of members 16% of elders, 24% of pastors, and 22% of specialized clergy did so via the Web. Response rates for this survey are: members, 49%; elders, 61%; ministers, 67%. (Issues in the PC(USA): The May 2006 Survey)

Populations
"The Panel consists of three samples, each drawn from a separate constituency group, or population, of persons affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The PC(USA) consists of congregations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico." (Technical Notes)

Elders
"The population of elders is defined as the subset of active members of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations: (1) who have been ordained to the office of elder by a PC(USA) church (or a church affiliated with one of its predecessor denominations) and (2) who are currently serving on the session of a PC(USA) congregation. (See Book of Order,
G-6.0101 through G-6.0108, and G-6.0300 through G-6.0304.) At the end of 2004, the population of elders serving on session was 106,419 (this figure is estimated; 1,475 congregations (13.4%) did not report their number of elders)." (Technical Notes)
Sampling Procedures
"Three representative samples were drawn, one from each of the three populations, using probability techniques." (Technical Notes)

Elders
First, the number of elders was imputed for each congregation that had not reported a number for 2005, based on the mean number of elders for congregations of similar membership size. Then, using proportional stratified sampling, we drew a sample of 401 congregations from the national total of 11,019, based on region, race ethnicity, and session size (i.e., number of elders currently serving on session). Each sampled congregation was then asked to draw eight elder names, using a random process. (Technical Notes)
Principal Investigators
Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and John P. Marcum, Panel Administrator
Related Publications
Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Issues in the PC(USA): The May 2006 Survey. Louisville, KY, 2006.