Letter explaining the survey

Atheist friends and colleagues,

I write to ask your assistance on getting the word out about a survey designed to help us better understand the world of atheists.

I am a sociologist at Elon University and have been researching atheists and atheism for the last five years.  I have amassed a team here at Elon to support me in doing this research, and we will all be quite honored to make a modest contribution to the cause of atheism.  Our main goal is to serve the atheist community.

What do we know about the make-up of the atheist community both here in the United States and around the world?  What are the perceptions of atheists about the state of atheism-related organizations and what these entities can or should do for them?  What are the perceptions of atheists about believers?  What types of atheists are there? How does being an atheist impact how one navigates in the social world? What is the demographic makeup of the atheist community both in the United States and around the world? What similarities and differences are there among atheists of different genders, ages, and geographical locations?

Though one can find answers to these questions in various books, articles, blogs and forums, having a robust, fresh set of survey data can serve to deepen, clarify, and expand on what we already know -or assume we know- about the world of atheists.  The intent of this survey is to generate such a data set and thus assist atheist-oriented organizations better to understand and serve the atheist community.  All relevant data (and analysis thereof) will be made available to the leadership of appropriate atheist- oriented organizations.

Getting the word out about this survey is critical so that we may hear the voices of as many atheists as is possible and, ultimately, work together to make ours a world where atheists are both understood and represented.

The url for the survey is http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HDJ5C6L.  I have also set up a web site for the survey at www.servingatheists.org that will serve as a place people can go for updates, preliminary reports on the data, and also to offer comments.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Dr. Tom Arcaro
Professor of Sociology
Elon University
Elon, NC  27244

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  1. Posted December 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    I was rather annoyed with a couple of questions on atheist organizations. I had to answer I was neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with these organizations when the real answer was “I don’t know enough about these organizations to give an answer.” This was a choice on some of the other questions but not on the ones about satisfaction.

    • Posted December 19, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the feedback. As others have pointed out, and I fully accept, this is an imperfect instrument. In the end, though, I trust that the data -especially the narrative bits- will be useful to the regional, national and international organizations. In the end that is my only real goal in all of this.

  2. Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    I thought many of the questions didn’t have enough options, or the right options. Not having the survey in front of me, I can’t point them out. Send me a list of the questions/answers and I and let you know, better, what I think. Overall, it was a pretty good survey… but I think it could have been better.

    Plus, just aesthetically, you could have reduced the font size and white space and put it all on one page.

    • Posted December 11, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the feedback, Kevin.

  3. Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Our server was down for a bit. Working now.

  4. Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Just letting you know the link for “www.servingatheists.org” goes to the wrong URL.