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Institute for Social & Economic Research, University of Essex

David Voas

The research team from the University of Essex will be led by David Voas, Professor of Population Studies in the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex. David is recognised as a leading quantitative social scientist, an influential sociologist of religion, and the country's foremost scholar in the quantitative study of religion. David is the British national programme director for the European Values Study, one of the oldest international surveys and a major resource in this area. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and the British Journal of Sociology and has just completed a term on the council of the British Society for Population Studies. He was recently appointed as a trustee of the Alister Hardy Trust (which exists to further the study of religious and spiritual experience, The Most Revd. Rowan Williams being one of its patrons). David is a regular contributor to public discussions on religious change. He is co-director of "British Religion in Numbers" (www.brin.ac.uk), which has become a leading source of information on this topic. He has been active in raising funds from the Economic and Social Research Council for church-related research, including a couple of substantial grants that have been of direct benefit to religious organisations. His degrees are from the London School of Economics and the University of Cambridge. He worked in the private sector (and lived in different parts of the world) before returning to academic life in 1998. He worked until recently at the University of Manchester, where he was a senior member of the Institute for Social Change and prior to that the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research.

Kirk Hadaway

The second member of the research team is Kirk Hadaway, director of research (or to use his formal title, Officer for Congregational Research) at the Episcopal Church in the United States. He will act as an advisor to this strand of the research programme. Kirk has made major contributions to the social scientific study of religion and is widely regarded as a leader in applied research on religion. He has been in his current position since 2002, prior to which he was Minister for Research and Evaluation at the national offices of the United Church of Christ. Kirk holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Massachusetts. He is past-president of the Religious Research Association and has authored eight books, including Behold I do a New Thing: Transforming Communities of Faith (Pilgrim Press, 2001), Rerouting the Protestant Mainstream: Sources of Growth and Opportunities for Change (Abingdon Press, 1995) and Church and Denominational Growth (Abingdon Press, 1993). In addition, he has published more than 60 articles on congregations, church trends and the sociology of religion in books, professional journals, and magazines. He regularly leads workshops with church groups on issues related to congregational renewal and vitality.

Ruth Powell

Additional advice will be given by Ruth Powell, director of NCLS Research in Australia. The National Church Life Survey (NCLS), conducted every five years since 1991, is one of the world's largest research studies on religion. Each round of the survey obtains detailed data on the religious practices and preferences of more than 300,000 churchgoers; the information that results is used by thousands of Australian churches to assess their own performance and to inspire discussion about the challenges they face. Ruth holds a PhD from Macquarie University. She has served as both Operations Manager and Communications Manager at NCSL Research and was made Director of the organisation in 2007. With her colleagues, she has written numerous books and articles based on the findings of the surveys and related research.

Laura Watt

Laura Watt, who recently completed a PhD thesis in the Centre for Census and Survey Research at the University of Manchester, is providing research and administrative support. She will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the church profile survey: sending out questionnaires and covering letters, maintaining a record of forms received, contacting churches where necessary, supervising the data input process, and participating in data cleaning and analysis. She will also arrange interviews with a small sub-sample of respondents.