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. New samples are drawn every three years. The main goal of this study is to gather broad information about Presbyterians in terms of their faith (belief, church background and levels of church involvement) and their social, economic and demographic characteristics (age, sex, marital status, living arrangements, etc.). Collected at the start of each new panel, the background variables provide information on the background, education, family, income and giving, and other information for participants in the 2012-2014 panel.
- Data File
- Cases: 1,522
Weight Variable: None
- Data Collection
- Date Collected: October-November 2011
- Original Survey (Instrument)
- Presbyterian Panel Website
- Funded By
- Congregational Ministries Division, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
- Collection Procedures
- Note: The description of collection procedures below is quoted from the Technical Appendix of the codebook.
In the initial mailing on September 10, 2011, each sampled individual was sent an envelope with a letter from Cynthia Bolbach, Moderator of the 219th General Assembly, on the moderator’s letterhead with a pre-printed signature in blue ink, encouraging the individual to participate in the Panel when the subsequent mailing and survey arrived. On September 22, the initial packet was sent out containing the following materials: a personally addressed cover letter from Perry Chang, Panel Administrator; the tri-fold Panel brochure in the Q&A format; an eight-page, booklet-format questionnaire (8˝? by 7? pages); and a postage-paid, business-reply envelope. The overall design of the survey and the mailings followed the “Tailored Design Method” (Dillman, Smyth, and Christian 2009). Dillman’s method makes the survey response process as simple and straightforward as possible to try to ensure that large percentages of those surveyed will respond, and is based on extensive research indicating which materials work best. The cover letter also gave individuals a website address that those with computer access could visit to complete the survey on the web.
All individuals who had not yet responded were mailed a reminder postcard on October 10, 2011. A second reminder, including a cover letter, replacement copy of the questionnaire, Q&A brochure, and postage-paid reply envelope, was sent on October 27, 2011, to all sampled individuals who had not yet responded. A third reminder, with a cover letter, replacement copy of the questionnaire, and postage-paid reply envelope, was sent on November 28, 2011, to all remaining non-respondents.
- Sampling Procedures
- Note: The description of sampling procedures below is quoted from the Technical Appendix of the codebook.
Pastors and Specialized Ministers
A list of all teaching elders is maintained by the Office of the General Assembly based on reports from stated clerks of presbyteries. A probability sample of 2,368 teaching elders was drawn using proportional stratified sampling. All active teaching elders (that is, not retired or emeritus) residing in the United States or Puerto Rico were located in one of 56 unique strata based on their region of residence (Northeast, Midwest, South, West), their race ethnicity (African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, Native American, white, other, not known), and their occupational category (pastors, specialized ministers; see definitions below). Random sampling was used within strata.
For most analyses, the teaching elder sample is split into the sub-samples of pastors and specialized ministers. To ensure the greatest accuracy and most up-to-date classification in this report, responses to Q7, Q8, Q9, and Q11 on the teaching elder questionnaire rather than occupational codes in the denominational database were used to determine which teaching elders are pastors and which are specialized ministers.
Pastors include teaching elders who serve full-time in a congregation in an installed position, such as pastor or associate pastor, or who serve at least half-time in one of these positions, if not otherwise employed. Interim pastors are also included in this category. Supply pastors are part of this group only if they have no other religious employment, work substantial hours as a supply pastor, or are paid.
Specialized ministers include teaching elders serving full-time in a school or seminary, as a hospital or military chaplain, as staff of a PC(USA) national agency or mid-council, in an ecumenical agency, or in any other (church-related or not church-related) job or position. This category also includes people who work part-time in a non-parish job, if they have no parish employment. People who have both non-parish church-related employment and parish employment are included in this category only if this parish employment does not involve pastoral leadership (for example, director of counseling), is part-time (for example, tentmaker), or is of a limited, temporary nature (for example, stated supply pastor).
- Principal Investigators
- Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and John Marcum, Coordinator