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ERIC Number: EJ976032
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7732
The Measure of American Religious Traditions: Theoretical and Measurement Considerations
Woodberry, Robert D.; Park, Jerry Z.; Kellstedt, Lyman A.; Regnerus, Mark D.; Steensland, Brian
Social Forces, v91 n1 p65-73 Sep 2012
Our original article espoused a simple way to recode religious groups on the General Social Survey (GSS) into historically meaningful categories and attempted to steer social scientists away from assigning these groups to a "Liberal-Moderate-Conservative" scale (Smith 1990). Among other problems, such scales create arbitrary cutpoints, have little to do with the historical movements that gave rise to particular religious affiliations and tend to conflate religious, economic, social and political ideas into one monolithic measure. In contrast, we assigned Protestants to mainline, evangelical and Black Protestant categories. In 12 short years, our classificatory system (RELTRAD) has become the standard way to code GSS affiliation data and has been utilized in many other survey efforts. Since its publication, no competing classificatory schemes have emerged to replace it. This article extends our earlier work and raises a series of theoretical and methodological issues for consideration by scholars in efforts to classify religious groups for analysis purposes.
Oxford University Press. Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, UK. Tel: +44-1865-353907; Fax: +44-1865-353485; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: General Social Survey