The LDS Environmental Survey was administered over the Internet between October 21 and November 15 2008. The survey was conceived, drafted, and implemented by three volunteers motivated by a common desire to better understand the nature and basis for beliefs of members of the LDS Church concerning environmental issues. The authors of the survey can be contacted at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The authors endeavored to distribute the survey as widely as possible through LDS email lists and blogs. In that time, more than 1000 people completed a portion of the survey, although some answered only a few introductory questions. Of the respondents, 793 completed the survey in its entirety. Most of the respondents who completed the survey (670) are active members of the LDS Church.
The majority of the questions (42) were multiple-choice, with responses summarized in the reports. Three of the questions were open-ended, yielding textual answers that have not yet been summarized. The raw answers to the three open-ended questions are currently listed in the summary of all respondents.
There are at least three reasons that the results of this survey should only cautiously be extrapolated to generalize about the larger population. First, despite our efforts to distribute the survey throughout the online LDS community, those who completed the survey may not be representative of the general population. Respondents self-selected and are consequently not a random sample. They were sufficiently comfortable using the Internet, and felt sufficiently strongly about the environment, to take the time to answer the survey questions. Although all the respondents evidently consider environmental issues to be important, they may do so for different, even opposite, reasons.
More fundamentally, this survey was not constructed with the objective of formally testing any specific hypothesis. Some patterns will inevitably emerge among the hundreds of responses to the many survey questions, but not every pattern will be statistically significant; some patters will simply be accidental. Rigorously testing any hypothesis would entail constructing a survey specifically for that purpose.
Finally, the number of responses from some sub-populations may be small, and consequently less likely to be representative of any larger population. For example, while 793 people in total completed the survey, only three are from Australia. It would be misguided to read meaning into a sample of three responses.
This analysis of the survey results will be iteratively expanded as time allows. Because the current results to the multiple-choice questions are aggregated across all those who completed the survey, one of the highest future priorities will be to disaggregate responses according to subpopulations based on demographics, political orientation, or level of church activity. Subsequent analysis will also distill the responses to the open-ended questions that have not yet been summarized, and are currently presented in their entirety.
- Click here to download a pdf document with the latest version of the summary of all responses. (n=793)
- Click here to download a pdf document comparing some results from this survey to those of a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. (n=708)
- Click here to download a pdf document with the latest version of the summary of the active LDS responses. (n=670)