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Young Catholic AmericaEmerging Adults In, Out of, and Gone from the Church$
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Christian Smith, Kyle Longest, Jonathan Hill, and Kari Christoffersen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199341078

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199341078.001.0001

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Who Actually Is a Catholic?

Who Actually Is a Catholic?

Chapter:
(p.126) Excursus Who Actually Is a Catholic?
Source:
Young Catholic America
Author(s):

Christian Smith

Kyle Longest

Jonathan Hill

Kari Christoffersen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199341078.003.0006

This excursus explores in depth the technical methodological issues involved in who should “count” as “Catholic” in any social-science study using survey data. This is a matter that most studies of Catholics tend to ignore, and yet it might affect their research findings in significant ways. It applies especially for studies focusing on children, teenagers, or emerging adults, for whom family background is a potentially still-important influence, even if those youth do not currently self-identify as Catholic at the time of the study. The excursus demonstrates the many complications involved in different ways of categorizing “Catholics” for analysis and how they affect findings, often as a methodological artifact. The excursus’ findings provide an important methodological contribution to the social-scientific study of Catholicism, in the U.S. and perhaps beyond.

Keywords:   survey variables, typologies, Catholics, methodological artifacts, categorizations

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