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1200.0.55.003 - Religious Affiliation Standard, 2012, Version 1.1  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/09/2012  First Issue
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Collection Methods



Standard question module

There are four alternatives for the standard question module for Religious Affiliation. The option used will depend on collection needs, including form space and cost considerations.

      • Alternative one: a set of tick boxes and an 'Other - please specify' response category for writing a religion not specified in the tick box list

      • Alternative two: an alternative set of tick boxes and an 'Other - please specify' response category for writing a religion not specified in the tick box list, for use in collections from indigenous communities

      • Alternative three: space for a write-in response and a tick box for 'No religion'.

      • Alternative four: space for a write-in response and a tick box for 'No religion', for use in collections from indigenous communities
Alternatives three and four are more compact but will incur additional coding costs to process the written responses.

Alternative one


Q. What is [your] [the person's] [(name)'s] religion?
    (Answering this question is OPTIONAL)
    For example, Salvation Army, Lutheran, Judaism, Humanism or Taoism.
    If no religion, mark the last box.
Catholic
Anglican (Church of England)
Uniting Church
Presbyterian
Buddhism
Islam
Greek Orthodox
Baptist
Hinduism
Other - please specify: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
No religion

Alternative two

Q. What is [your] [the person's] [(name)'s] religion?
    (Answering this question is OPTIONAL)
    For example, Salvation Army, Brethren, Judaism, or Humanism.
    If no religion, mark the last box.
Traditional Beliefs
Anglican (Church of England)
Catholic
Uniting Church
Lutheran
Baptist
Aboriginal Evangelical Missions
Other - please specify: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
No religion

Alternative three

Q1. What is [your] [the person's] [(name)'s] religion?
(Answering this question is OPTIONAL)
For example, Judaism, Humanism, Islam, Greek Orthodox, Baptist, or Anglican (Church of England).
Please write in your religion or mark the box if no religion.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
No religion

Alternative four

Q1. What is [your] [the person's] [(name)'s] religion?
(Answering this question is OPTIONAL)
For example, Traditional Beliefs, Anglican (Church of England), Catholic, Uniting Church, Lutheran, or Baptist.
Please write in your religion or mark the box if no religion.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
No religion

Answering a question about Religious Affiliation is optional in ABS censuses and surveys as it is considered a sensitive topic. Section 14 (2) of the Census and Statistics Act 1905, which addresses the issue of refusal or failure to answer questions, states that this 'does not apply in relation to a refusal or failure by a person to answer a question, or supply particulars, relating to the person's religious beliefs.' ABS surveys must clearly state that answering the question is optional.

To improve data quality, it is important to advise respondents that if they do not identify with a religion, they should still answer the question by marking the 'No religion' tick box.

The tick box lists for alternatives one and two of the question module include religious groups based on their statistical significance in the Australian context. The lists are designed for efficiency and economy when coding responses. The lists imply no view by the ABS of the relative importance of any religious group or groups. The lists are reviewed when data indicate that different religious groups have been more or less frequently reported in the ABS Census and surveys.

The tick box lists in alternatives one and two can be extended where circumstances enable longer lists, consistent with the ASCRG, to be displayed, such as in electronic collection drop down lists. Similarly, if there are space constraints on paper forms, the tick box lists can be truncated. The 'No religion' tick box should always be included

'Other - please specify' is included to enable respondents whose religious group is not listed to record their religious affiliation in the space provided.

Alternatives three and four of the question module can be used when detailed religious affiliation data is required from a survey instrument which has space constraints. Additional coding costs may be incurred since each response will need to be matched to an entry in the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG) (cat. no. 1266.0) coding index.

Each alternative to the question module may be accompanied by a brief explanatory note about why Religious Affiliation is collected and detailed instructions about how to answer the question. The explanatory note can be included with the chosen question module or in supplementary documentation. The recommended text for the explanatory note is in Appendix A .

Standard input categories

The standard input categories are the same as the categories of the ASCRG (cat. no. 1266.0). For operational reasons, supplementary codes also exist to enable inadequately described responses to be coded.



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