Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers

By Christian Smith; Melinda Lundquist Denton | Go to book overview

Appendix B. Survey Methodology

The National Survey of Youth and Religion (NSYR) is a nationally representative telephone survey of 3,290 English- and Spanish-speaking teenagers between 13 and 17, and of their parents. The NSYR also includes 80 oversampled Jewish households, not nationally representative (described below), bringing the total number of completed NSYR cases to 3,370. The survey was conducted from July 2002 to April 2003 by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill using a random-digit-dial (RDD) method, employing a sample of randomly generated telephone numbers representative of all household telephones in the 50 United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. The national survey sample was arranged in replicates based on the proportion of working household telephone exchanges nationwide. This RDD method ensures equal representation of listed, unlisted, and not-yet-listed household telephone numbers. Eligible households included at least one teenager between 13 and 17 living in the household for at least six months of the year.1 To randomize responses within households, and so help attain representativeness of age and gender, interviewers asked to conduct the survey with the teenager in the household who had the most recent birthday. Parent interviews were conducted with either a mother or father, as available, although the survey asked to speak with mothers first, believing that they may be better qualified to answer questions about their family and teenager. Stepparents, resident grandparents, resident partners of parents, and other resident parent-like figures were also eligible to complete the parent portion of the survey.

An RDD telephone survey sampling method was chosen for this study because of the advantages it offers compared to alternative survey sampling methods. Unlike school-based sampling, for example, our RDD telephone method was able

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