Quality of religious affiliation measurement in Slovakia

Miroslav Tížik, Institute for Sociology of Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovak Republic

Pages: 49 – 70

Abstract

In the investigation of religion and religiosity, the data from the census or surveys areoften used. The question on religious affiliation can be considered as sensitivequestion related to basic human right of religious freedom, the right to be withoutreligion and at the same time is considered a matter of privacy. This question can be problematic not only because of political reasons, but is also a methodological challenge in terms of the validity of data and how interpret correctly results of investigations. Comparing the results with different ways of inquiry suggest that the wording of the question and its understanding by the respondent greatly affects the degree to which individuals enrol or not identify themselves to religion. Therefore, in the implementation of some representative surveys in Slovakia an additional validation of control and in-depth interviews conducted to examine how respondents interpret the question. The combination of different methods shows the number of problems in generalizing the results of affiliation and religiosity without the use of control instruments or reasonable interpretation of the data, but also show the irreplaceable meaning of census in measuring certain aspects of religiosity.

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