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Reincarnation Revisited: Question format and the distribution of belief in reincarnation in survey research


Siegers, Pascal


Bitte beziehen Sie sich beim Zitieren dieses Dokumentes immer auf folgenden Persistent Identifier (PID):http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-338881

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Abstract Comparing frequency of belief in reincarnation from different international survey projects (RAMP, EVS, ISSP) reveals differences of about 15 to 20 percent depending on the specific question format. If single binary questions are used, then belief in reincarnation is more often reported than if a forced-choice question is used which offers respondents alternatives to belief in reincarnation (e.g. resurrection). One possible explanation for this result is that respondents confuse reincarnation and resurrection if a binary item is used. If this is true, then empirical studies on religious individualization would be flawed because they use belief in reincarnation as an indicator for holistic beliefs such as New Age spirituality, post-Christian spirituality and subjective life spirituality. Using a two stage question on beliefs about the afterlife that combines a binary rating procedure (1. stage) with a reduced forced-choice design (2. stage) allows analysis of whether respondents systematically confuse reincarnation and resurrection. Moreover, analysing associations with other variables on religious beliefs allows testing if consistent patterns of belief emerge. The data provide little evidence that respondents confuse resurrection and reincarnation. Rather, they reveal a high level of uncertainty about belief in the afterlife. To conclude, the paper suggests some recommendations on how belief in reincarnation should be used as an indicator for holistic beliefs.
Thesaurusschlagwörter EVS; ISSP; survey research; religiousness; statistical analysis; data
Klassifikation Erhebungstechniken und Analysetechniken der Sozialwissenschaften; Religionssoziologie
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2013
Seitenangabe 11 S.
Zeitschriftentitel Survey Methods: Insights from the Field (2013)
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.13094/SMIF-2013-00007
ISSN 2296-4754
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz Creative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht kommerz., Keine Bearbeitung