IAPR 2013 Pre-conference (27 August 10.00 – 15.00): Methodological issues in current psychological research on religion
How many religious and spiritual (R/S) dimensions exist? What are the costs and benefits of the proliferation of (new) R/S measures? Do the latter measure something different or do they substantially overlap? Is it possible to measure religion and spirituality in heavily secularized countries? How to compare findings between secular and traditionally religious countries?
Within the psychology of religion, the psychometric approach is a dominant perspective. Despite the abundance of self-report questionnaires designed to measure religiosity, there is a perceived need to develop more self-report questionnaires. We will provide a) an overview of the available religiosity measures; b) a review of the general criteria on which these measures should be evaluated; c) an example of the evaluation of an “established” measure; d) an example of the construction of a “new” measure of religiosity. The workshop should be of interest to researchers interested in developing a “new” measure of religiosity or alternatively those wishing to select an “established” measure.
Children’s representations of God are determined by four factors: age, sex, culture and education. Combination of these factors can be seen in texts and drawings produced by children. Which are the strategies to study these representations? How to classify them? About 1,000 drawings were coded using more than 100 descriptors. What to expect from methods like cluster analysis will be discussed (Pierre-Yves Brandt).
At the individual level, religiousness accounts for variability in important psychological and behavioral processes such as prejudice, prosociality, and health. Most of what we know about varieties of religious experience (James, 1902) and associations between religiousness and social behavior, however, comes from participant self-report (Hill and Hood 1999). With few exceptions, the scientific study of religion has been the scientific study of self-reported religiousness and spirituality. In this presentation, Rowatt and LaBouff will describe the development and validation of an internally consistent implicit measure of religiousness-spirituality. They will also discuss recent developments of priming methods to examine the effect of religious salience on various outcomes.
Prayer is a central component of many faith traditions yet research on this practice has lagged behind other topics. Questions of methodology are part of the dilemma because prayer is regarded as a “slippery” concept. Can true experimental methods be employed? Are qualitative approaches the best way to investigate? Is there a role for physiological measures that is non-reductionist? Are there any “best practices” that can inform this line of work? Strategies to address these and other issues will be suggested, including consideration for how these principles may or may not work in relation to the study of related topics such as meditation and mindfulness.