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Data Analysis

The data analysis strand will be undertaken by a team from the Institute for Economic and Social Studies at the University of Essex led by Professor David Voas.

As part of the research programme the research team will undertake a careful analysis of the full range of data that is collected by the central church as well as other existing data sets (such as that on deprivation). The researchers will then test a range of hypotheses around church growth. They will look at the effect of particular factors whilst attempting to ‘control’ statistically for a range of other factors and interventions and so attempting to overcome the challenge of distinguishing between correlation and causation.

The researchers will seek to test a range of hypothesis around factors and interventions related to church growth. The hypothesis will include those related to mission strategy, deployment, leadership and other the availability of other resources. The analysis will also seek to model the impact of key context variables such as deprivation, initial size of church and demographic makeup.

Whilst various discrete pieces of analysis have been undertaken in the past there have been few attempts to carry out a detailed multi-variable analysis of the data set to explore the issue of church growth. The imperfection and limitations of the data will prove challenging, however the researchers hope to significantly enhance our understanding of the data that the church already holds.