December 23, 2001

CyberFaith: How Americans Pursue Religion Online

Methodology

Questions and Data

This report is based on several surveys of Americans about their use of the Internet. The overall figures about the size of the Religion Seeker population comes from a survey of 2,247 American adults (18 and over) between August 13-September 10, 2001. Some 1,135 of them are Internet users. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sample and other random effects is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

A more in-depth survey was given to 500 persons who have told survey takers at Princeton Survey Research Associates that they had ever gone online for religious or spiritual information. The telephone interviews among those 18 and older were conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates between July 24, 2001 and August 15, 2001. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sample and other random effects is plus or minus 4 percentage points.  In addition to sample error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting telephone surveys may introduce some error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Interviews for this survey were completed from a pre-screened sample of Internet users who in past surveys identified themselves as Internet religious or spiritual information Religion Surfers.  Once the household was reached, interviewers asked to speak with the individual who had recently completed a telephone survey.  Once the targeted person was on the phone, they were asked a few screening questions to make sure that they had ever gone online to look for religious or spiritual information.

At least 10 attempts were made to complete an interview at every household in the sample.  The calls were staggered over times of day and days of the week to maximize the changes of making contact with a potential respondent.  Interview refusals were re-contacted at least once in order to try again to complete an interview.  The final response rate for the callback portion of the survey is 66%.