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Most social science research about beliefs excludes atheist participant samples . . .
Posted: 01 January 2013 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello,

I am a researcher conducting a study on beliefs and personality.  I am desperately seeking an atheist sample.  The linked survey below is a set of psychological questionnaires that take 15-30 minutes to complete.  Also, if you have any contacts you could pass this on to I would be most grateful.  Science thanks you, too.


https://www.psychdata.com/s.asp?SID=152255


All the best,
Jon

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Posted: 01 January 2013 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Maybe you could give us more information first. Any skeptic is going to be a bit skeptical about someone who only just created a screen name and then asks us to go to a web site in their first post.

Who are you? What is the nature of this study? Is the study being sponsored by a university or research institute? You will need to make the contributors to this forum more comfortable with who you are and what you are doing if you want anyone to participate.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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macgyver - 01 January 2013 11:56 AM

Maybe you could give us more information first. Any skeptic is going to be a bit skeptical about someone who only just created a screen name and then asks us to go to a web site in their first post.

Who are you? What is the nature of this study? Is the study being sponsored by a university or research institute? You will need to make the contributors to this forum more comfortable with who you are and what you are doing if you want anyone to participate.

Completely understandable questions.  My name is Jon Moore, I’m a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at the University of Louisville who researches many things, but is most passionate about secular issues.  This study I invited you to is using correlational data to compare personality qualities across people who have various ideological view points.  There has been a lot of poor research in the past that has compared “strong” believing Christians with “weak” believing Christians and scholars have erroneously made conclusions about secular persons by assuming they are no different than Christians with weak belief systems.  My research plans to investigate whether there is any validity to that claim (my belief is that there isn’t, and by publishing this study I hope to rectify misconceptions about secular persons, should the data yield valid conclusions). 

I have also posted on reddit.com.  The post has taken off in the /r/atheism subforum and should be on the front page of that.  Feel free to view the comment sections to see people discussing my study and its components. 

If you are still skeptical, I can provide the Institutional Review Board approval of the research study as well as their phone number so you can contact them and verify it yourself.  I’m guessing that is overkill though. 

All the best,

Jon Moore, M.Ed.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I just filled it out . . . I’m glad to help out.

To increase the likelihood of finding atheists, have you tried canvassing musicians? Not garage-band players, but people with formal musical training. If I understand the demographics, we aren’t as dominantly atheistic as physicists, but we’re definitely one of the more atheistic livelihoods. Professional musicians tend to be very well-educated, which is probably the correlation. The nature of our jobs also tends to allow interactions with a lot more different kinds of people than most.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 01 January 2013 12:55 PM

I just filled it out . . . I’m glad to help out.

To increase the likelihood of finding atheists, have you tried canvassing musicians? Not garage-band players, but people with formal musical training. If I understand the demographics, we aren’t as dominantly atheistic as physicists, but we’re definitely one of the more atheistic livelihoods. Professional musicians tend to be very well-educated, which is probably the correlation.

Thanks for the suggestion and for completing it.  I would love to canvass to specific groups, but if I did, the study would be criticized heavily when I try to publish the results.  Journal reviewers would cast the results aside stating that the results I found could be characteristic of musicians, and mean nothing about atheism.  Thus, I gotta keep it general to help maintain the external validity of it.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Um, you’re canvassing for a specific group simply by advertising it here.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’ve contacted multiple secular organizations and secular message boards.  So, I’m canvassing to atheist internet users, if anything, which could be argued to have a respectable level of generalizability despite the scarcity of atheists relative to the religious majority.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Jtmoor - 01 January 2013 01:02 PM

I’ve contacted multiple secular organizations and secular message boards.  So, I’m canvassing to atheist internet users, if anything, which could be argued to have a respectable level of generalizability despite the scarcity of atheists relative to the religious majority.

I’m not saying that you’re wrong to post it here - I just have curiosity about it. If, one day, I end up getting a good music job in a university, I would like to be able to help conduct some studies relating to psychoacoustics, and all of the little things that can bias a study are IMHO interesting.

For example, one thing that I would think can bias an internet-based study is age, because peoples’ ages aren’t necessarily spread in the same way across the internet as how people’s ages are spread across the atheist demographic. But, I don’t see how it’s possible to completely avoid these kind of biases: conduct the study in a university’s general population, and the bias is toward educated people. Conduct the study over randomized phone interviews, and the study is biased toward people who have phones. And so on. This (psychoacoustics) is something of interest to me specifically as a composer, and it’s not the kind of thinking I was doing back when I was in school, when I had easier access to people doing this kind of work.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Yeah, that was a good example, and is definitely an issue scholars take into consideration.  Luckily, for something like age, as long as you get a little bit of variability in it (even if it is mostly lopsided) there are statistical procedures that can be performed to see if age is having an effect on the other variables you are studying.  If so, you can partial out the age effect in the data and have a clearer statistical picture.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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That’s about what I figured. I did notice that the questionairre included a query about age, presumably for this very reason.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thanks for the info. I completed the survey. I’m sure we would all appreciate it if you could provide a link to your final paper/results when its completed. Best of luck.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 04:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Well, hmmm.  I tried to take the survey but didn’t really understand the questions and ended up stopping after the first page.  They were all “belief based.”  I couldn’t even figure out how to answer them. 

Chris

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Posted: 01 January 2013 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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i just took your study.  have you heard of the center for atheist research (atheistresearch.org)?  you can get a sense of what others are doing in the area.  we might be willing to host your study as well. send us an email with some information. 

another avenue might be the nonreligion and secularity research network (nsrn.net/), an international network of scholars which has, among other things, a pretty comprehensive bibliography of secularity-related articles.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 05:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I’ve actually contacted an acquaintance of mine, Joe, at atheistresearch.org.  I’m still waiting for him to respond (just e-mailed him today).  I love nsrn.net, it’s been a great resource.  Thanks for completing the study!  Also, seeing as how you’re familiar with this research area, would you have any suggestions on how to increase my Christian sample via online recruitment?  Strangely, I’m getting lots of secular respondents but very few Christians.  This really surprised me.

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Posted: 01 January 2013 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’m still confused about the survey.  All these questions about my “beliefs.”  I don’t have any “beliefs.” 

Chris

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Posted: 01 January 2013 06:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I can’t talk in great detail about the study, Chrisan, because I don’t want to influence the results.  All I can tell you is that you don’t have to answer questions you don’t understand, and that you should just go with your gut/first reaction to statements.

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