We had several outstanding scholars (Bowen, Jusu, Ngaruiya, Rasmussen) located in key academic Kenyan institutions (Africa International University, Africa Leadership University, Daystar University), scholars that themselves supervised large numbers of graduate theological students with strong connections across denominations to Kenyan Christians. Thus, we selected Kenya as our core Anglophone country.
In August 2012, an ethnically and denominationally diverse team of Kenyan research assistants,1 most of them graduate students, received formal training on administering the final survey. Under the supervision of Ngaruiya, Bowen, Jusu, and Rasmussen they spent the last few months of 2012 administering the survey in both English and Swahili to 3964 Christians across Kenya. They traveled to regions of the country where the population was most concentrated, and where larger denominations and ethnic groups were present. Research assistants were often selected to administer surveys in places where they had strong personal and church networks, as well as ethnic ties. While the Kenyan map does not identify all locations where surveys were filled out, the cities and towns on the map represent places where significant concentrations of respondents filled out the surveys. Many of these towns were regional centers, where respondents from the surrounding county would have been present. Surveys were not administered in regions of the country with low concentrations of people, low concentrations of Christians, where travel access was limited, and where it might have been dangerous to carry out the research (such as in the heavily Muslim Northeast).
Please see the map.
Research assistants looked for active and informed Christians to fill out the surveys. The purpose of the survey was clearly explained, anonymity was assured, and those who filled out the survey were given the gift of a pen with the name of one of the Kenyan sponsoring academic institutions (Africa International University, Africa Leadership University, or Daystar University). Each pen also included the Scripture “So encourage each other and build each other up…1 Thessalonians 5:11”. Sometimes research assistants approached individuals one by one. Nearly 30% of surveys were filled out by individuals approached in this way. But a majority of respondents in Kenya (over 70%) were part of gatherings where a whole group was asked to fill it out. About a quarter of the time, this was in the context of congregationally-based groups, such as choirs, worship teams, prayer meetings, women’s groups, or meetings of congregational leaders. The rest were in groups comprised of participants from more than a single congregation. This included prayer breakfasts, midday prayer groups, pastoral gatherings, university fellowships, youth leader gatherings, men’s and women’s conferences, school staff meetings, workshops, and in one case, a wedding!
While in many cases, the actual collection of data was done in the context of a gathering or group, this was done to take advantage of the availability of those present, and each survey was filled out individually. The group did not discuss or compare answers or make selections based on the group consensus. In this way, the integrity of the uninfluenced data was maintained.
Clearly this was not a random survey. We specifically intended to survey knowledgeable, active Christians. Among other things this meant that our Kenyan respondents were well-educated, with roughly 85% having completed high school, and with only 5% of respondents needing to have the research assistants read the survey to them and record their answers for them. While 8% acknowledged not attending church regularly, 29% of respondents served their church in lay or clergy leadership roles, and an additional 56% reported being church members and/or regular attenders.
But while we never intended to carry out a random survey, we did intend to survey people in different regions of the country and across denominations, genders, and ethnicities. More men (58%) than women (42%) filled out the survey. With ten percent of respondents Roman Catholic, in a country that is 20% Roman Catholic, we undersampled Catholics. But we appear to have successfully surveyed fairly representative numbers from each of the major Protestant denominations in Kenya, at reasonable rates given the overall sizes of the respective denominations (see “Summary of Responses”, question 7). The ethnic identities of respondents involved percentages remarkably close to the percentages of the country population as a whole (see “Summary of Responses, question 76). For additional information on income, age, and other attributes of our respondents, see “Summary of Responses, questions 69-92.
The “Summary of Responses” is included in the downloadable data available on the website “Data Page”.