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Young Peoples' Attitudes to Religious Diversity

This major project is one of the two large projects on religions and education to be conducted as part of the AHRC and ESRC Religion and Society programme. Further details of the whole program can be found here.

The Warwick project is specifically concerned with studying young people's attitudes to religious diversity in the UK. It is a mixed methods project and research is based in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales with the addition of London as a special case. The project started in October 2009 and will be completed in September 2012.

The increasing religious diversity throughout the United Kingdom provides both a major challenge and an opportunity for the future of society. The media commenting on recent local and international events and trends have given religious difference and divisions a high public profile. There is a growing recognition at government level that religion cannot be relegated to the private sphere and that teaching school students about religious diversity in religious education and citizenship lessons can contribute to community cohesion. To date little research has been done on students’ own attitudes towards religious diversity or the factors influencing their formation. These attitudes and influences are the subject of this research project.

The research is investigating the attitudes of 13 to 16 year old students across the United Kingdom. Young people from a variety of socio-economic, cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds are taking part in the study in order for a variety of views to be heard and the influence of a number of contextual factors to be considered. The WRERU team are using qualitative and quantitative methods to explore the young people’s experiences of and perspectives on religious diversity.

Colleagues with qualitative and quantitative research experience have worked closely together in the design of the project. At December 2011, the qualitative phase of the project is complete and in the writing up stage. The pilot study for the quantitative research has been completed and 10,000 questionnaires have been sent out to selected schools across the United Kingdom. Analysis of the questionnaires will begin in early 2012. The triangulation of methods will enable a depth of analysis and a degree of generalisability that would not have been possible on the basis of one methodological approach alone.
Wednesday 22nd February 2012 What's the Place of Faith in Schools debate

Professor Robert Jackson, Professor Linda Woodhead (Director Religion and Society Programme), Rt Hon Charles Clarke, Professor Richard Dawkins







Religion and Society Programme, Faith in Schools debate, Wednesday 22nd February 2012, 'What's the place of faith in schools?'

Available on YouTube

The Religion and Society Programme summary of this project can be found here