Research Analysis in the National Survey of Youth and Religion – 17999 – SOC 68901

Prof. Christian Smith, – 1 Credit Workshop

Fall 2006, Flanner 824, Thursdays (specific meeting dates TBA) 7:00-9:00PM

Office hours by appointment


Purpose: The purpose of this 1-credit seminar is (1) to introduce students to the NSYR project ( and datasets as a means of training in empirical research and analysis, (2) for students to work on producing a research note or article for publication, and (3) to provide an opportunity for students to present their research in professional conference style to the class.  The goals is by the end of the course to have all students familiar with the NSYR project, working with NSYR data, and completing analysis and writing for one journal research note or article to be presented to the class and submitted to an appropriate journal for publication.


Meetings: We will meet six times over the course of the semester on designated Thursday evenings, in Flanner 824 from 7:00-9:00PM. The professor will announce no less than two weeks in advance when future meetings will be held, but students should generally keep clear all future Thursday evenings during these hours.



      1.     Students must immediately apply to NSYR using established procedures for data use permission, following the system

              explained by the professor. Students must adhere to their agreements concerning data use.

      2.     Students must attend all scheduled workshop meetings and participate in discussions.

      3.     Students must read Smith & Denton’s Soul Searching: the Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers

              (Oxford, 2005) and Smith’s “Theorizing Religious Effects among American Adolescents,” JSSR, 2003. Students are

              recommended also to read any relevant reports offered n the NSYR website.

      4.     Students must carefully study the provided NSYR codebooks.

      5.     Students must dfine early in the semester a specific and manageable empirical data (survey and/or interviews) analysis

              project to conduct for the workshop, from which must be written a term paper in the form of a journal article style

              research note or full article. A one-page description is due to the professor 24 hours before the start of the second class

              meeting, and must be approved by the professor. Students must turn in a working draft of their papers half way through

              the semester (early November). Students must turn in final versions of their papers at the last workshop meeting. To

              receive credit and a grade, students must show proof of having submitted their research notes or articles to an

              appropriate journal by the end of the Fall 2006 exam period.

      6.     Students must give short conference-style presentations on their empirical data analysis projects and findings in class

              near the end of the semester.


Communicating: The professor is not in full-time residence in South Bend this year, but is available for questions and discussion over email (address above) and, if necessary, by phone (919-732-6338). A great deal of the work of this workshop can be conducted outside of class meetings through the wonders of modern technology, so do not hesitate to employ email and if needed the phone to make progress as the semester proceeds. Students should raise any questions or problems they experience, not hesitating to address issues as they arise. Do not be shy about asking about anything about which you are unsure.