Thursday, July 21, 2011

The survey says . . . Using polls in research and as illustrations

I will use a statistic from a poll only infrequently as an illustration in one of my sermons.  Many people today, I think, are fairly skeptical of polls having seen opposing sides of an argument use surveys in contradictory ways. That being said, a good poll can help the preacher get a feel for what his or her congregation might be thinking on an issue. Preachers are like everyone else.  We often assume that other people think the way we do about a given issue.  Good research can help broaden our understanding of our congregation and of our communities.

Rasmussen Reports is a reputable source of polls. Primarily they survey political opinions, but also do surveys on other things like, "Do you believe life exists on other planets in the universe?" 58% of Americans say they do. You can browse the surveys at their website or sign up for a daily e-mail of their latest poll. Barna Research Group focuses their research upon the church.  You can sign up for a twice a month e-mail from them that highlights some of their more recent work.

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