, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 164-178
Date: 14 Mar 2009

Episcopal Measure of Faith Tradition: A Context-Specific Approach to Measuring Religiousness

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Abstract

Precise measurement of religiousness remains a vexing problem. In addition to relying almost exclusively on self-report, existing measures of religiousness pay little attention to the specific context of religious belief, and this may override distinctive norms of particular faith traditions and potentially confound the conclusions drawn from such research. To address these limitations, the authors describe a modified form of narrative content analysis that could eventually sort respondents into distinct theological traditions. A pilot test among Episcopalians demonstrates encouraging reliability (kappa 0.74, 95% LCI 0.47, P < 0.0002), and tests for convergent and discriminate validity suggest that the context of religious belief is both relevant and insufficiently assessed by the existing paradigm of religious measurements. If validated in a religiously diverse sample, this approach could be combined with existing, context-free measures of religiousness to generate more meaningful findings.