Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers

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

Appendix C. Interviews Methodology

The second phase of the data collection of the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) involved in-depth personal interviews with 267 teens. The purpose of the interviews was to provide extended follow-up discussions about teens' religious, spiritual, family, and social lives. The questionnaire followed closely and expanded on the topics that were included on the NSYR telephone survey. All interviews were conducted in person and were digitally recorded (except in three cases in which the interviews ran long and because of schedule constraints had to be completed over the phone; two other interviews were conducted over the phone in their entirety). Interviews lasted an average of two hours each and ranged from about 1.5 to 3 hours long. Teens were given a $30 cash incentive to complete the interviews. The majority of the in-person interviews were conducted between March 2003 and August 2003, with a final few completed as late as January 2004. All interview subjects were selected from among the 3,370 teens who completed the NSYR telephone survey. At the conclusion of that survey, teens were asked if we could contact them again in the future. More than 98 percent of the survey respondents agreed to be contacted again in the future.

The interviewees were selected from the telephone survey respondents using a stratified quota sample. Rather than a nationally representative sample, we wanted interviewed teens to represent a range of demographic and religious characteristics in order for us to be able to draw substantive conclusions about the variety of teen experiences in the United States. Therefore, the interview sample was drawn taking into account the following demographic characteristics: region, urban/suburban/rural, age, sex, race, household income, religion, and school type. We attempted to achieve a balance in each of these areas. We also oversampled

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