Baylor and Harvard team up to study role of faith in human flourishing – Baptist News Global


Scientists at Baylor and Harvard Universities research the factors that contribute to human flourishing around the world. They announced their five-year, $ 43.4 million study on October 29.

The project will assess 240,000 people from 22 countries over an extended period and examine a range of well-being measures. It will draw on the data collection expertise of the Gallup organization and dissemination by the Center for Open Science.

Byron johnson

Study director Byron Johnson, a social science professor and director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor, said the project has been in the making for three years and is important in part because it will examine in depth the role of religion in human development.

Most previous attempts to study this connection have been in Western countries, have focused primarily on Christianity, and have not lasted for several years, he told a press conference. broadcast live announcement of the launch of the study. “We have to move the needle on these things,” he insisted.

Co-director of the project, Tyler VanderWeele, said factors that contribute to flourishing also include physical and mental health, the quality of close relationships, meaning and purpose, and material stability.

“The type of work required”

Tyler VanderWeele

“The Global Flourishing Study is exactly the kind of work needed to deeply understand the interplay of key elements of the human experience that help us live well, be happy, and feel meaning and purpose,” VanderWeele, professor of epidemiology and director of Human development program at Harvard, said in a press release from Baylor.

The size of the panel of participants will help provide levels of data that cannot be replicated by traditional polls, Johnson added in The version.

“This is an amazing opportunity for the Baylor-Harvard team to lead a panel study like this,” he said. “Because our sample size is so large, we will be able to examine all the major religions of the world and the role, if any, that they play in human flourishing. “

The project will examine what it means to live well, to be truly healthy and to thrive, the Baylor statement added. “Researchers and clinicians have generally answered these questions by focusing on the presence or absence of various conditions – disease, family dysfunction, mental illness or criminal behavior. But such an approach to “deficits” says a lot about what makes a life well lived – what it means to thrive. “

The focus will be on people from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria , Philippines, Poland, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Ukraine, United States United Kingdom and United States.

The long-term goal should also produce data relating to the health, economic, political, psychological, political and spiritual determinants of human development.

Filling the knowledge gap

Joe daly

During the live-streamed event, Gallup lead partner Joe Daly explained that the Global Flourishing Study will benefit from nearly two decades of research his organization has conducted on the human condition around the world. But the Baylor-Harvard collaboration will also fill a knowledge gap about the role of religion in flourishing.

“We’re going to be able to see what drives what,” Daly said.

The overall approach to the study is unique, said Rajesh Srinivasan, global research director for Gallup World Poll, in the statement.

“There are several examples of nationally representative probabilistic studies that track the same respondents over time in a single country,” Srinivasan said. “But few have attempted to cover multiple countries. The scope of this project is unprecedented and likely to provide valuable information for global survey research using this type of methodology. “

The questionnaire that resulted from the development phase of the project was summarized in a Gallup report. The partnership with the Center for Open Science will present the results to educators, journalists, policy makers and researchers around the world.

“The rigor and transparency applied to its analysis will increase confidence in the research that emerges from this work and reduce barriers to global and equitable access to this information,” said Center Director David Mellor.

The broader goal of the study is to transform the study of human flourishing into a mature academic discipline, Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, said in the Baylor statement. “The flourishing global study is a methodological innovation that can really change the world – really change the way the world is run.

The cost of the study is covered by a number of sources, including the John Templeton Foundation, the Fetzer Institute, the Paul Foster Family Foundation, the Wellbeing for Planet Earth Foundation and the David & Carol Myers Foundation, Baylor announced. . .

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