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Study on Religion

Mike Fehl
Mr. Winch
January 6, 1997
Table of Contents
Scientific Method
2 - 4
Survey Method
2 - 3
Statistical Analysis
Chart on responses
Historical Method
4 - 5
Scientific Method
Isolating the Problem - Does religious involvement have any impact on how
people act? I wanted to find out if how involved a person was in their religion
any effect on their moral standards, behavior, or grades in school. I felt that
might be a pattern formed with involvement and the afore-mentioned variables.
Forming a Hypothesis - My hypothesis going into this paper was: Those people
who are involve in their religion, on average, have higher moral standards, bet
behavior, and do better in school than those who are not as involved in their
Building a Research Design - In conducting my research I used three sociological
research methods: survey method, statistical analysis, and the historical method
This involved a questionnaire, the data from the questionnaire, and studies from
magazines and books.
Collecting the Data - I collected the data from my questionnaires as well as fou
books that discussed the subject, and magazine articles on related topics.
Analyzing the Data - I compared and contrasted the data I received, whether from
my questionnaire or from the text. I tried to find similarities that either pro
ved or
disproved my hypothesis.
Make Generalizations - After completing my studies, I found a connection
between religious involvement; and was able to generalize that those who are
involved act and behave better than those who aren't involved.
My purpose for writing this paper on this particular subject was because
was curious to find out if there were any connections between religious
involvement and if it affected how people acted. I found some similarities
between those who felt that religious involvement affected behavior, and
similarities between those who didn't. I also found similarities between those
replied that they were highly involved in their religion, as well as some simila
between those not as highly involved.
I used three different methods to help me collect my data. The first wa
s the
survey method. I developed a questionnaire that I felt would get me the
information I seeked. These surveys were distributed in Randolph high school (t
Mr. Winch's classes), mostly to Seniors and Sophomores, as well as a few from
the Freshman and Junior classes. This gave me a good sample of the teenage
population in our area. The questionnaire had the following questions:
- 1. What is your religion?
- 2. How involved in your religion do you consider yourself?
(1-10 1 being the lowest 10 being the highest)
- 3. How would you rate your moral standards? 1-10
- 4. How would you rate your behavior? 1-10
- 5. What are your average grades?
- 6. Do you feel your religious involvement affects your behavior?
Through my questionnaire I found that the majority of the people who fel
that they had high religious involvement ( a 6 or better on the 1-10 scale) felt
their religious involvement had an affect on their behavior, while the majority
those that felt that they had low religious involvement ( a 5 or lower) felt tha
t their
religious involvement had little or no impact on their behavior. Also I found t
hat a
larger percent of those who answered that yes their involvement had an impact on
their behavior felt that they had high moral standards, good behavior, and good
grades ( a 7 or better for the two former and B's or better for the former) than
those who felt that their involvement had no impact on behavior.
Responses compared to their religious involvement
High involvement in their religion (6+) Low involvement (
3)High moral standards (6+) 93% 3)High
Low moral standards (5-) 7% Low
4)Good Behavior (6+) 86% 4)Good 66%
Worse behavior (5-) 14% Worse 34%
5)Good Grades (B's +) 86% 5)Good 51%
Mediocre Grades (C's) 14% Mediocre 39%
Poor Grades (D's -) 0%
Poor 10%
6)Yes, involvement does 6)Yes
impact behavior 88%
No, involvement does No
not impact behavior 12%
So the preceding table seems to show that, on average, those who are mor
highly involved in their religion feel they have better moral standards, better
behavior, and better grades, as well as feel that their involvement affects thes
e. 1
A related study, conducted by Bill Moyer, showed that involvement and
influence of religion is increasing. In November of 1992 only 27% of Americans
said the influence of religion was increasing while 38% of Americans in a
December 1995 study said that the influence is increasing, an 11% leap in only a
matter of 26 months. It was also noted that ". . . the historical role of relig
ion is
molding personal identities, shaping social identity, generating community and
goals, transmitting values, sharpening critical moral sense, challenging the sta
quo and questioning authority." 2
Another past study showed similar results. This study noted "Christian
teaching is intended to govern the soul." They found that 1970 75% of American
people felt that religion didn't influence them, but only 46% were of that opini
in 1980. Their study was also able to show that those people who were considere
successful in life, doctors, businessmen, artists, etc., the majority of them we
involved in their religion as well as credited their success to the influence of
religion and their involvement in that religion. 3
In research, I found my hypothesis to be proven true. Those people who
were involved in their religion, no matter what religion they were, were more
likely to have higher moral standards, rate their behavior higher, and do better
school, as well as feel their involvement in their religion affected their behav
These studies suggest that if more people were involved in their religion that t
might be less behavioral problems in our school systems, society would have
higher morals, and more people would receive good grades. So after doing these
studies I feel that there is definitely a connection between religion and how pe
act and behave; and I found that those who are involved in religion, whatever
religion it may be, act and behave better than those who are not actively involv
in religion. So while not all the evidence I found while researching my topic w
what I expected and some was inconclusive, the overwhelming feeling I got while
studying my research is that my hypothesis is true.

1. My Questionnaire on religion from a sample of Randolph High School.
2. Moyer, Bill America's Religious Mosaic, USA Weekend, Gannett Co.
Inc., October 11 -13, 1996, pages 4 - 5
3.Bender L., David, Leone, Bruno Religion in America , Greenhaven
Press, Inc., San Diego, CA 1989

Bender L., David, Leone, Bruno Religion in America , Greenhaven Press, Inc.,
San Diego, CA 1989
Colombo, Furio, God In America, New York: Columbia University Press, 1984
Marx, Herbert L. Jr., The Reference Shelf: Religions in America, The H.W.
Wilson Company, NY 1977
Moyer, Bill America's Religious Mosaic, USA Weekend, Gannett Co. Inc.,
October 11 -13, 1996, pages 4 - 5
My Questionnaire on religion from a sample of Randolph High School.