Have a question about the Mormon Gender Survey Group? Perhaps we already have an answer…
Q: What is your timeline for this project?
This project is being done in phases. In the first phase, we collected responses from a representative sample of LDS Church members, using one of several companies that conducts national surveys in the US. That sample is our key, and we will use it to judge just how similar or dissimilar responses are from our purposive, snowball sample. Some people have asked how we will know that our responses from the snowball sample are representative of the LDS Church as a whole. We don’t have access to official LDS membership records, of course, so we are going to rely on a comparison of our representative sample with the current survey. This will help us judge the degree of similarity. We also plan to compare our results with those of other nationally representative surveys.
Q: I think I detected some bias in your survey wording. Why did you use the questions you did?
Some people have expressed concern about specific questions, or about the questions in general. It is always a challenge to design a survey that asks a range of questions in a way that meets multiple competing demands. Inevitably, once responses to a survey come in, the researchers finds questions that could have been improved. We are keeping comments we receive so that if we conduct a follow-up study, we can improve on it. For example, some people have wondered what we mean by specific words. Words do sometimes mean different things to different people, and we discussed at great length the language to be included in the survey. Just as an individual survey question represents a sort of average or consensus of the group designing the survey, so do the responses, taken together, represent an average of participants’ views. It is rare that any one person’s idea will be represented completely; such is the nature of a project like this. We are firmly committed to doing good social science. There is no perfect study, but this survey came about as a result of long discussions. If others believe that they can improve on it, we look forward to learning about their projects. As we get more data on important and interesting issues, we better understand people and society.
Q: I’ve just taken the survey, and I have some feedback. Where can I go to give you my comments?
A: We’ve created a special form just for feedback and comments. Please fill out this form if and only if you’ve taken the survey and have specific comments about the survey itself.
Q: Did you approve this research with an Institutional Review Board (IRB)?
A: Yep. Here’s the contact information for the two Institutional Review Boards that approved the project:
This research project has been reviewed and approved by the following Institutional Review Boards for the protection of human subjects: The University of Tampa (IRB tracking number 14-66; Phone: 813-253-3333; email: firstname.lastname@example.org), Georgia Southern University (IRB tracking number H15105; Phone: 912-478-0843; email: email@example.com).
Q: Who are you?
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with this project?
A: We’re genuinely curious to know how members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints think about issues related to gender. Yes, part of that is the question about female ordination, but we’re interested in broader issues, like whether members of the religion think some people are treated unfairly, whether something can or should be done about it, and whether they think things are changing or will change in the future.
Q: Are you allowed to conduct a survey of Mormons?
A: Sure. We obtained IRB approval to conduct the survey. We don’t need the permission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since we are not contacting members through wards or official lists. People can choose whether or not they want to participate.
Q: How do you plan to use the data?
A: Well, we’re academics. We tend to think in academic terms. So, we’re primarily interested in using the data for peer-reviewed, academic publications. But we have already been contacted to consider writing at least one book chapter based on the data and we plan to issue some reports based on the data as well.
Q: Will you share the data?
A: Maybe… Why do you ask? More seriously, if you want access to the data you’ll need to contact one of the members of the Mormon Gender Survey Group and explain how you plan to use it. The group will then discuss it and make a decision.