All posts by Elizabeth

Research Example (Shaiko’s Political, Environmental, and Religious Research)

Shaiko, R. G. (1987). Religion, politics, and environmental concern: A powerful mix of passions. Social Science Quarterly (University Of Texas Press), 68(2), 244-262.


Shaiko introduces the topic of religion and the environment by talking about Lynn White (1967) and his lecture stating that  it was the Judeo-Christian belief of divine creation and man dominion-over-nature that has thrown the United States into an ecological crisis. Shaiko hopes to look into what role politics plays in this idea, since Hand and Van Liere (1984) had just done a analysis of Lynn White’s lecture if religious views had an affect on environmental views and found a certain amount of correlation.

Shaiko believes that using data from just a single survey cannot prove or disprove anything and thus validates the research being done here by saying that the relationships discovered here are still a valid indicator (and this also leaves open the door for people to do more research).

Data that was used in this study were surveys that were collected by Mitchell (1978) as these surveys were sent out to environmental groups. Shaiko asserts that there is a difference of opinion that can be seen in environmentalists versus ordinary United States citizens.

This study was analyzing for mastery-over-nature,  environmental issues [of importance], and how religious affiliations play into all of this.

The results show that the idea of a dichotomy between Judeo-Christian and otherwise does not show adequately the relationship between religious views and environmental views. Shaiko also seems to indicate that the time frame is also important in this analysis because many denominations are changing their doctrines on nature. This might suggest that perhaps the best thing to see if Lynn White was correct is to go find survey data before his time. The results did find that there was a relationship between the stewardship view of environmentalism in the Judeo-Christian belief. It also found that politics make a difference.


Also Referenced:

Hand, Carl M., and Kent D. Van Uere. 1984. “Religion, Mastery-over-Nature, and Environmental Concern,” Social forces, 63 (December):555-70.

Mitchell, Robert C. 1978. “Testing a Theory of Collective Action with Data on a Contemporary Social Movement.” Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. Data set available through the Roper Organization, Storrs, Conn., archive no. USMISCRFFENVRN78.

White, Lynn, Jr. 1967. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” Science, 155 (10

Research Example (Religious Beliefs and Environmental Policy)

Guth, J. L., J. C. Green, L. A. Kellstedt, and C. E. Smidt. 1995. Faith and the environment:Religious beliefs and attitudes on environmental policy. American Journal of Political Science. 39(2), 364–382.


The researchers of this article talk about a few different issues with how environmental data and religious data are collected, saying that there are more complex views than can be captured in surveys and thus some results may not be as accurate because of that.

They also bring up a point that many articles focusing on religion and the environment have missed, and that is the role of politics with religion or the environment.  Sometimes it is said that an individual’s political views determine what their environmental views are. However, in this article they talk about how religion is very important in political views. So there is some sort of relationship between the three that is still being explored.

Despite the researchers’ belief that politics are important in the analysis of the relationship between environmental views and religious views, in this study they focused once again on environmental views and their relationship to religious views, specifically three factors in religious views: beliefs, traditions, and commitments. They focus on biblical literalism and End Times Thinking (Eschatology), mostly in the conservative Protestant Christian belief. They do, however, take into account political factors.

The researchers used four data sets that focused on a variety of things, but had appropriate religious and environmental variables. The results were varied, but they indicate strong correlations with political-identity variables. In fact it seems as though politics and eschatology were very important controlling variables (since this was a regression test).

As usual, this research left as many questions as it did answers. It has significant correlation information on conservative eschatology, religious tradition, and religious commitment, but notes that there is a lot of questions unanswered on what determines the religious views that are seen in this research.


Proposal Example #1 (Environmental Factors and Crime)

Ying, Crystal Loh Wai (1996). The Relationship between Juvenile Delinquency and Environmental Variables in New Town, Tuen Mun.


This research proposal dealt with the different environments in which crime takes place. This is a proposed study that is going to be specifically looking at the new town of Tuen Mun in Hong Kong. This particular town has high crime rates compared to other urban towns in Hong Kong and Ying (1996) wants to find out why. Ying decided to analyze this area for information about the type of environment it is in order to see if there is anything relating the abnormally high crime rates to how the town is set up.

The literature review that Ying did found that there is more crime rates around areas that have a high amount of access to the public. Crime rates were also found to be correlated with things like  housing conditions, demographic stability and ethnic/social status.

In order to do this study, Ying proposed to hang out with a group juvenile delinquents and seeing what they do. The researcher seems to want to find one juvenile delinquent and get them to  snowball sample in order to get a few people to watch the behaviors of.

Ying also hopes to interview these juvenile delinquents to see why they make the decision to commit crimes in certain areas. In addition to getting interview information from the juvenile delinquents,  Ying hopes to interview police officers and security guards to see what areas they believe are high crime and why.

Ying has the proposed project to find out why the town of Tuen Mun in Hong Kong has high crime rates as compared to other Hong Kong cities. The researcher has a few ideas from past research, saying that environmental factors are often an issue correlated with crime rates. To figure out the exact reason why crime is so high in this particular city, Ying will observe and interview juvenile delinquents.  Ying also proposes to interview security guards and police officers to get a full picture on the areas where there is an abundance of crime.

Research Example #6 (Environmental Education and Politics)

Crouch, R., & Abbot, D. S. (2009). Is Green Education Blue or Red? State-Level Environmental Education Program Development Through the Lens of Red- and Blue-State Politics. Journal Of Environmental Education, 40(3), 52-62.


Environmental Education (EE) programs are greatly controversial because, as seen when looking at political views and the environment, not everyone believes that the same things are happening with the environment. Because of this, the question is whether to let schools teach about environmental issues. The purpose of this research article by Crouch and Abbot is to see whether there is a difference in state-level Environmental Education program activity in Republican and Democratic states.

The article starts with the idea that liberal/Democratic views are the major environmental views and conservative/Republican views are the non-environmental views. In order to see what the effect is on the Environmental Education programs in Democratic schools as opposed to Republican schools, Crouch and Abbot took survey results from 1995 that evaluated certain points that comprehensive Environmental Education programs should have.

The survey was conducted by another group of researchers who had already identified the components that a successful Environmental Education program should have and did a survey to see what schools were following it. They got results from all 50 states, with a total of 173 EE leaders in different areas around the United States. The survey was designed to figure out what states had comprehensive Environmental Education programs or if they were being developed.

In order to do this research, Crouch and Abbot took the results of the Environmental Education survey that showed how each state was doing, and compared them to the state’s past election history of being Democratic or Republican. The researchers did correlation tests to see if there was any pattern here.

The results were that political affiliation did not seem to effect whether a state had a good or bad Environmental  Education program. They did point out that their probability was not as good as they would wish. I also have the complaint that taking this data at the state level seems a little large, and that coupled with the probability makes this data a little less reliable than I would like to use as a reference.

Research Example #5 (Politics and the Environment)

Dunlap, R. E., & McCright, A. M. (2008). A Widening Gap: Republican and Democratic Views on Climate Change. Environment, 50(5), 26-35.


It has been assumed time and time again that individuals with a Democratic view will usually be more environmental. This article is taking that idea with a specific example, global warming. They are asking whether Democrats and Republicans see Global Warming in different views.

The article begins with a history of environmental awareness as it relates to politics. Environmental policies use to be nonpartisan, but this changed in the 1980s when the Reagan (Republican) administration called environmental regulations a financial burden. Since then, these researchers believe, there has been a growing divide between parties about environmental regulation, with the Democrats being more for it and the Republicans being more against it.

The article does note that the views on Climate Change, which they are measuring in the article, are the most noticeable environmental gap between the two parties. So using this to see if Democrats and Republicans are different on willingness to consider environmental problems might be a bit bias.

This research article looked at the Gallup poles from 1997 all the way to 2008 and it showed indeed a widening gap between Republicans and Democrats. Less Republicans in 2008 believe that the effects of Global Warming have already begun than in 1997, while more Democrats believe it. This trend is also true for who believes that Global Warming is exaggerated in the news and who believes that humans are the cause. Also, even though not a lesser amount of Republicans in 2008 believe that scientists agree about Global Warming and that Global Warming might pose a threat to them, the amount is not rising as much as Democrats.

The report ended on the note that Republicans and Democrats were definitely making a gap in their views about Global Warming and it seems to be getting wider.

I did have some criticisms of this article. I had to double-check that it was peer-reviewed because it is more of a flashy article and seemed to be trying to grab attention more than clearly state facts. Some of the correlations seemed a bit low to use as evidence that can be graphed as well. However, this was very informative to me and a surprisingly little amount of research has been done on politics in the United States and environmental views.




Research Example #4 (Structuring the Religion-Environment Connection Analysis)

Sherkat, D. E., Ellison, C. G. (2007). Structuring the religion-environment connection: Identifying religious influences on environmental concern and activism. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 46(1), 71-85.


This article is a newer view on the original idea of Lynn White’s that religiosity is a factor in environmental degradation. The topic of this reading is religiosity and how it is related to environmental views.

The article starts off by summarizing the past finds of other research projects. Basically, there have been a few research projects that have found that religiosity has a positive correlation with environmental views, while other projects found there to be no relation. Sherkat and Ellison have noted though that past research projects have often not taken into account the complexities within the religious realm. They believe that more research into social movements may clear this up.

They also introduce the concept that religion and environmentalism may be connected by saying that environmental views are almost like a religion in themselves, which almost invites overlap between religious views and environmental views.

For this research paper, Sherkat and Ellison analyzed data from the 1993 General Social Survey. They analyzed environmental actions of individuals, political environmental activism of individuals, beliefs in the seriousness of environmental problems, religious beliefs, Individual willingness-to-sacrifice for the environment, and political conservatism as well as some demographic data.

To analyze this data, Sherkat and Ellison compared the means of different groups and looked for correlations.

The results of this study found that conservative Protestants were less likely to make personal sacrifices for nature and had lower levels of private environmental action. However there is a positive correlation between church-going and environmental stewardship views.  They seem to believe that political views are more likely to shape environmental views and not necessarily religion.

This article was actually very useful for me because they analyzed data they did not collect, but that was from the General Social Survey, which is what I was going to do.

Research Example #3 (Analyzing Religious Involvement and Environmental Concerns)

Eckberg, D. L., Blocker, T. J. (1989). Varieties of religious involvement and environmental concerns: Testing the Lynn White thesis. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 28(4), 509-517.


Eckberg and Blocker decided to test out the theory that Lynn White had in his article that said that it was religiosity that perpetrated the man-dominance-over-nature that has been seen in Western culture (see Research Example #2). So Eckberg and Blocker had the research topic of religiosity and environmentalism.

To examine whether the sacredness of the Bible affected environmental attitudes of individuals in a population, Eckberg and Blocker decided to ask individuals about their own religious affiliation. They also asked the individuals about their own views about the environment. This data collection was done via a telephone questionnaire in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Eckberg and Blocker did not do a variety of religions, rather they focused on Judeo-Christian and Conservative Protestant, comparing the two. They asked these groups how much they believe religion is important and how strongly they believe in the bible. The environmental questions were more about what environmental problem they thought was important.

To get accurate results Eckberg and Blocker ran correlation tests, controlling for different variables such as social backgrounds. They also did regression analyses on the results. These types of statistical analyses show the amount of connection between two variables. While this does not indicate cause, it does show that there is a link between the two variables if there is a strong enough correlation for the sample size.

The conclusion of the article was that Lynn White may have been onto something. The data from this research that belief in the Bible showed a slight correlation with harmful views of the environment and biblical views.

This article may have been a little hasty though, because the correlations really were not all that strong and though it did show a correlation there could always be another reason for the data being related and not necessarily based on denominations.


Research Example #2 (Lynn White’s Mastery-Over-Nature)

White, L. (1967). The historical roots of our ecological crisis. Science 155(3767), 1203-1207.

Hand, C., Van Liere, K. (1984). Religion, mastery-over-nature, and environmental concern. Social Forces 63(2), 555-570.


White makes the very bold claim that religion is not only connected to the environment,  but that it is the cause of environmental degradation in the United States.

This is a weird research article because it is written like a story.  Many articles do not even put themselves in the article, but talk passively about the research done. It is nice to have a better amount of understanding in this article, but it opens with an anecdote about White talking to his friend about rabbits.

Then White goes into a synopsis of science and technology in the Western world. Two pages in and he has yet to bring up religion and has only touched on environmental problems, although he did say that the environment certainly is being majorly influenced by humans. He has an extremely detailed quick view of science through the ages, starting in the Middle Ages. He follows as first Islamic countries and then Europe takes the lead in science.

Because of science and improvements in technology, says White, one of the first events that separated man from nature was the improvement of the plow. No longer was man a part of nature, rather man was a creature that could rule over nature.

However, the most known and quoted part of this paper is the second half which talks about what Christianity has to do with all of this. White calls Christianity a very anthropocentric religion that separates humans from nature by saying that we are made in God’s image. White even says that it  Christianity calls it “God’s will” to exploit nature. Worse off, this view replaced the religion of animism, which saw a spirit that needed to be accounted for when dealing with nature.

A point White does say is that this form of environmentally-degrading Christianity is not inherent totally in the religion, rather it seems to be the result of Western attitude, technology, and the Christian religion which brings the environment to its doom.

Another downfall of this article is that there is no data collection of any sort, which does not exactly make it proper research. Luckily, this paper was so controversial that research was actually done on this after it was written. One of the first research projects done was by Hand and Van Liere who used a mail survey to collect data from Washington State residents. Their survey was taken by 806 households and was analyzed for correlation. The results found that there does seem to be a mastery-over-nature attitude with some Judeo-Christian denominations, but there was not an extremely high correlation.

So, although there was not any research data taken for White’s shocking statement saying Western Christianity is the cause of an ever deteriorating natural environment, Hand and Van Liere (as well as others) have tested it and at least found a slight correlation between Christianity and mastery-over-nature.

Research Example #1 (Religion and Attitudes Toward the Environment Analysis)

Greeley, A. (1993). Religion and attitudes toward the environment. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 32(1), 19-28.

Lynn White had written about religion and it’s detriment to the environment and this was such a generalized suggestion that it makes it hard to refute, however his statements can be used to make a hypothesis that religiosity is negatively correlated with environmental concern. The topic is the relationship between religion and the environment. The researchers of this report (Eckberg and Blocker, who did not write the report) broke up the population into: being Jewish or Christian (as opposed to having no religious affiliation), being conservative Protestant, believing that religion is important, and believing in the literal interpretation of the Bible.

It is probably important to note that Eckberg and Blocker did not have a explanation to why religiosity and environmental concern would be negatively correlated since this report is an explanation by Greeley on why it is, using data in addition to the Eckberg and Blocker data from the General Social Survey from Davis and Smith.

The research question asked by Eckberg and Blocker was what people reported was their environmental concern as well as their religion. This was taking a survey of a random sample of people in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They analyzed their data to see the correlations (using Pearson’s “r”) and displayed this in a table.

Greeley found that the those who saw the image of God as a Friend as opposed to a Judge and King were more likely to have a greater environmental concern. Though this did not seem to be lined up with religious beliefs which is what Eckberg and Blocker were focused on.

In this article, Greeley analyzes this further with visual representations of histograms to show the conclusions that were found by Eckberg, Blocker, Davis, and Smith.

This article seemed to be more of an analysis of what other people had found, which was useful in its own right, especially since, if you look at the report from Eckberg and Blocker, they do not say that the relationship lay with the images of God, but just found some correlations spuriously with different religions.

Journal Exercise #2 (Crime in Non-Western Religion)

The article “Does religion suppress, socialize, soothe, or support? Exploring religiosity’s influence on crime” from the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion was by Brauer, Tittle, and Antonaccio.

This article was trying to find if religiosity had negative correlations with crime in the non-Western world. According to other research, there is a negative association between religiosity and crime in Western contexts, but these researchers wanted to try and figure out if the same was true in a non-Western context. More specifically, Brauer, Tittle, and Antonaccio explored whether crime and religion were related in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Lviv, Ukraine.

The research question gives us what type of data will be collected. They wanted to know, specifically, if religious people in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Lviv, Ukraine would report less likely to commit a crime as opposed to the non-religious people living there.

In addition to finding out if crime and religion had a negative correlation, the researchers wanted to explore whether religiosity is coupled with things such as self-control, social control, moral beliefs, negative emotions, and social support.

The researchers used surveys to ask the people in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Lviv, Ukraine if they feel likely to commit a crime in the future and whether they are religious or not. The researchers surveyed a random sample of both populations in order to get results that accurately reflected the entire populations. The type of data collected was reports of acts, behaviors, or events since the surveyed people are reporting how likely it is for them to commit a crime in the future.

The data from these surveys were then analyzed using a correlation matrix and then a multivariable OLS regression analysis because the data was ordinal and quantitative.

The results confirmed that religiosity and crime is negatively correlated in the non-Western world. They also found that religion influenced social networks and thus also had an influence on crime in that manner.

I honestly get a little bit lost with all the explanations on how the researchers figured out their results, but there did seem to be a negative correlation between crime and religion according to their data. This also corresponded with results from other research done in the United States, but the point of this research was that it might be more of a cultural thing than the actual religion of people in different areas. It is very interesting that religiosity is negatively correlated to crime not just in the Western world but all over, so far at least.

One thing I would wonder about was their use of surveys. They used a survey to see how people described how likely they were to commit certain crimes in the future, which would not have been a method I might have thought of using because people could lie about what they would do.

Brauer, Tittle, and Antonaccio explored whether crime and religion were related in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Lviv, Ukraine in order to get a non-Western view on whether crime and religiosity is related. They used surveys to get people to report whether they were likely to commit a crime in the future and whether they were religious. Brauer, Tittle, and Antonaccio then analyzed this data to find a negative correlation between religiosity and crime in the non-Western world. Surveys may not be the best method to get accurate data, but it was a good way to get a lot of results that could be analyzed semi-quickly.