So imagine my surprise when a study purporting to be major is undertaken by students in the Liturgy Department of the College of St. Benedict/ St. John's University, with a Social Psychologist from the CSB/SJU faculty as their Professional Consultant, and the hardly-disinterested Rev. Anthony Ruff, OSB, as their advisor.
Here are the credentials of the Project Manager, according to the PrayTell website:
Chase M. Becker is a Nebraska native and current editorial assistant for Pray Tell. Chase holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Saint Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Nebraska and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Liturgical Studies from Saint John's School of Theology•Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota. Chase currently serves as a Liturgical Designer and Consultant and has earned awards in historic preservation from Heritage Nebraska and Preservation North Dakota.
The sympathetic-leaning PrayTell commentariat have already weighed in on the likelihood of sampling errors, particularly considering the enormous amount of self-selection that occurred. Self-selecting dioceses participated. Self-selecting clergy from these dioceses participated. And as Jeffrey mentions below, we are given very little of the data.
Before we take this survey with any seriousness, why don't we stop and ask for a little transparency.
What did the surveys look like? Did they indicate Collegeville as their source or destination, thus influencing participation? Which dioceses were involved and why? Were there any outside scientists involved in the process? Was any outside social scientist consulted for independent evaluation of the procedures?
What degree of professionally credible skill was involved in producing this survey? How involved was the in-house scientific consultant? Did she design the survey? Did she evaluate the results or train the liturgy students to a high level of analytical skill before they processed the results? What corrections were made to the raw data?