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Aspects sociologique et méthodologique

Historical comparations of censuses results

The problem is that there was a change, from an objective approach to a subjective declaration, with the phrasing varying from religious membership to religious affiliation.
A specific change occurred in Slovakia : in the 2001 and 2011 censuses, a double-barrelled question was entered, which defines confession as : 1) a "citizen’s participation in the religious life of a church" or 2) very vaguely indicated "relationship to a church". In addition, it listed only registered religious groups, which may influence and to some extent create the conviction that only registered groups are legitimate. Members of other religious groups, unregistered, may indicate their belonging in the column "other". Since 2001, people can only choose from a list of recognised churches, or choose "other", or "without confession" (2001, 2011).

Until 1950 Objective church membership (parish evidence)
1991 Subjective open question : What is your religious confession ? Or without confession
2001 Subjective religious confession, Religious confession/church + list of 15 recognised churches, other, without confession
2011 Subjective religious confession, Subjective religious confession + list of 18 recognised churches, other, without confession

Slovakia and the surveys concerning religion

The different European surveys (ISSP, EVS, ESS, Aufbruch) use questions of various types, which brings them to measure different dimensions of religiosity : the type of relation to the church (formal membership or emotional link), the personal denominational identity, the personal affirmation of faith.
In Slovakia, in the frame of a national methodical investigation, questionnaires used in surveys were checked using an in-depth quality interview – a validation survey, in 2008 and 2014. The validation survey aimed at understanding how people comprehend individual questions, and how they answer in more details in standard interviews. It revealed that questions concerning the religious confession were understood by the people questioned to mean the tradition of the respondent’s community, or the confession of their broadly understood family. Hence, respondents did not evoke their personal relationship to a church or religion, but were rather speaking of a relationship of conformity to the group in which they usually live. This type of answer was also found for people who expressed their disbelief in God.

D 4 février 2020    AMiroslav Tížik

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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