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AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society PhD Studentship

Alice Pyke was employed as a PhD student on the AHRC/ESRC sponsored Young People’s Attitudes towards Religious Diversity project. Alice graduated from University of Wales, Bangor with a degree in Theology. She began her academic career in 2009 as a research assistant within Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU), University of Warwick.

Outline of the PhD

Alice’s doctoral dissertation focused on the problem of understanding attitudes toward religious diversity, and she employed an individual differences approach to this.

Year 1

During the first year Alice is identifying, mapping and reviewing three fields of literature grounded in different areas of the individual differences approach. The first field concerns the psychometric assessment of attitudes toward religious diversity, including measures of prejudice, discrimination and proximity, and areas related to Islamophobia (as the best developed area to date). The second field concerns theories and measures developed within the established field of the psychology of individual differences relevant to accounting for variability in attitudes toward religious diversity, including models of personality and constructs like self-concept, empathy and emotional intelligence. The third field concerns theories and measures discussed within the quickly evolving field of empirical theology and the theology of individual differences, relevant for accounting for variability in attitudes toward religious diversity, including constructs like God images, religious orientation, and the structure of religious beliefs.

Year 2

During the second year Alice has been heavily involved with the development of the sample frame, the design and preparation of the questionnaire, and has piloted the questionnaire among both year nine and year ten pupils. Alice used the verbal feedback from the pilot study and the analysis of the pilot data to develop the finalised questionnaire which she has assisted in distributing to the schools and inputting into the database in preparation for the analysis. She has also conducted some preliminary analysis and will continue to be involved with the analysis once the 10,000 questionnaires have all been inputted.

Year 3

In the third year Alice will integrate the new empirical data with the developing theories and measures discussed during the first year of the project.