Religion among Academic Scientists

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > General Population > National > Other > Summary

The Religion among Academic Scientists survey (RAAS) asked a randomly selected sample of natural and social scientists at 21 elite research universities questions about their religious beliefs, behaviors, and upbringing. The survey also asked about the professional status, volunteering activities, and demographics of the respondents.

Data File
Cases: 1,868
Variables: 152
Weight Variable: WEIGHT
Data Collection
Date Collected: May-June 2005
Original Survey (Instrument)
Religion Among Academic Scientists Questionnaire
Funded By
The John Templeton Foundation
Collection Procedures
A letter was sent to potential respondents that included a $15 cash pre-incentive. Non-respondents received up to five reminder emails and then phone calls from the survey firm. Respondents could complete the survey over the phone or on the web. Most respondents (93.5 percent) completed the survey over the web.
Sampling Procedures
The sampling frame included scientists in seven disciplines (physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, economics, political science, and psychology) at 21 universities that were listed as “Top American Research Universities” on an annual report published by the University of Florida. Criteria for this listing include the amount of research funding, amount of federal research funding, faculty awards, and the number of doctorates given. The 21 universities were:

Columbia University
Cornell University
Duke University
Harvard University
Johns Hopkins University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Princeton University
Stanford University
University of Pennsylvania
University of California at Berkeley
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Chicago
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of Washington, Seattle
University of Wisconsin, Madison
University of Southern California
Washington University
Yale University

This produced a sampling frame of 5,740 individuals. Of these, 2,198 were randomly selected as potential respondents to the survey. Of these, 1,646 responded, producing a response rate of 75 percent.
Principal Investigators
Elaine Howard Ecklund, Rice University
Related Publications
Ecklund, Elaine Howard. 2010. Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ecklund, Elaine Howard and Christopher P. Scheitle. 2007. “Religion among Academic Scientists: Distinctions, Disciplines, and Demographics.” Social Problems: 54: 289-307
Weight - Because some disciplines are larger than others, some oversampling and undersampling was done so that roughly equal numbers of people were sampled from each discipline. The weight variable adjusts the proportions back to the population sizes. See table A.1 in Ecklund 2010 for more information.

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