How should Mass attendance be measured? An Italian case study

How should Mass attendance be measured? An Italian case study The validity of measures of Mass attendance has been a matter of controversy for some time in Italy, just as it has in other countries. This study will show that the different survey methods which can be used each have distinct advantages and disadvantages. We will compare the questionnaire and daily diary as measuring devices and try to highlight their main qualities and failings. More specifically, although the large number of up-to-date questionnaire-based surveys carry the benefit of offering a ‘richer’ range of information regarding the interviewee’s religious behaviour, they provide data which is excessively approximate on a systematic basis. In comparison, time use studies are less common and much more costly, partly because they usually use a daily diary to record the activities carried out. Although the data they produce is ‘scarcer’ in terms of information, it is also much more reliable. Indeed, estimates obtained from comparisons between the two tools highlight significant differences. In addition, synchronic and diachronic comparisons cannot be carried out due to the fact that the distortions introduced by the use of questionnaires are extremely variable over time and depending on the social segments studied (young people/adults, men/women etc.). The conclusion we will draw is that the daily diary is a far more suitable tool for surveying Mass attendance than the questionnaire because of these distortions. Finally, we will show that this conclusion does not depend on the specific survey methods adopted, as comparisons with multination surveys seem to confirm that, at least with regard to Italy, distortion resulting from use of a questionnaire is a general phenomenon. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

How should Mass attendance be measured? An Italian case study

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Social Sciences; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
ISSN
0033-5177
eISSN
1573-7845
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11135-011-9655-2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The validity of measures of Mass attendance has been a matter of controversy for some time in Italy, just as it has in other countries. This study will show that the different survey methods which can be used each have distinct advantages and disadvantages. We will compare the questionnaire and daily diary as measuring devices and try to highlight their main qualities and failings. More specifically, although the large number of up-to-date questionnaire-based surveys carry the benefit of offering a ‘richer’ range of information regarding the interviewee’s religious behaviour, they provide data which is excessively approximate on a systematic basis. In comparison, time use studies are less common and much more costly, partly because they usually use a daily diary to record the activities carried out. Although the data they produce is ‘scarcer’ in terms of information, it is also much more reliable. Indeed, estimates obtained from comparisons between the two tools highlight significant differences. In addition, synchronic and diachronic comparisons cannot be carried out due to the fact that the distortions introduced by the use of questionnaires are extremely variable over time and depending on the social segments studied (young people/adults, men/women etc.). The conclusion we will draw is that the daily diary is a far more suitable tool for surveying Mass attendance than the questionnaire because of these distortions. Finally, we will show that this conclusion does not depend on the specific survey methods adopted, as comparisons with multination surveys seem to confirm that, at least with regard to Italy, distortion resulting from use of a questionnaire is a general phenomenon.

Journal

Quality & QuantitySpringer Journals

Published: Dec 17, 2011

References

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